Hobart is currently experiencing a “housing crisis”, but all is not quite what it seems. There are in fact two things happening and they are unfortunately coming across in the media as one and the same thing.
There is currently a shortage of housing in Southern Tasmania generally, but Hobart in particular, which is putting pressure on not only the homeless, but also working families (currently housed) when it comes to finding appropriate accommodation for them to rent.
However, the second factor here is that the homeless people living in tents at the Showgrounds are indicative of a deeper and long-standing problem. These people are genuinely homeless and often have been for a long time, but are only a small proportion of the homeless population, and even of those who are sleeping rough.
The best guess suggests there are approximately 160 people sleeping rough in Tasmania at any one time. They are spread across what is estimated to be 30 sites around greater Hobart where they feel safe.
Those sleeping rough are generally visited by support organisations on a weekly basis and offered assistance. These organisations don’t highlight or reveal these locations in the interests of privacy and safety.
It is at this time of the year that life becomes very challenging for people without a home. It gets cold very quickly in Hobart, and we all feel it. It is at this time that we need to do more to provide those experiencing hardship with food, clothing, blankets and financial assistance to help them get by. As part of Housing Connect* we are also doing all we can to help them find a safe place to live.
Donations of food, clothing, blankets and other essentials are incredibly helpful and we ask that you help us here where you can.
But the reality is that the most useful support we can provide someone is the professional advice and financial assistance, so they have the ability and dignity, to decide for themselves what it is they need. This is only possible through financial donations from the community. If you are able to help us in this manner, no matter the size, we very much appreciate it.
Stay warm this Winter and be thankful that you can!
John Stubley – Hobart City Mission CEO and Board Member of Shelter Tas and TasCOSS
*Housing Connect (HC) is the organisation through which people access housing and homelessness assistance. HC is comprised of 5 community service organisation, of which Hobart City Mission is a founding member.