Newcastle set to hold first registry for homeless people

NEW INITIATIVE: Newcastle Registry Week spokesperson Belinda McDaid said finding housing for rough sleepers was the initiative's priority.

NEW INITIATIVE: Newcastle Registry Week spokesperson Belinda McDaid said finding housing for rough sleepers was the initiative's priority.

The number of rough sleepers in the region will be actively recorded, their needs documented and support given to find suitable housing as part of the inaugural Newcastle Registry Week.

Between October 18 and 20, a diverse group of local services and organisations associated with homelessness will survey the people sleeping rough in Newcastle to find out their needs.

The survey is part of Newcastle Registry Week, which has been initiated to help address the plight of rough sleepers.

Newcastle Registry Week spokesperson Belinda McDaid, St Vincent de Paul Society special works manager, said helping people find accommodation was a top priority.

“Housing is their primary requirement because people need to feel safe, secure and stable before you can work on other things, like health and substance abuse,” Ms McDaid said.

“Registry Week has been chosen as the starting point of our initiative in Newcastle because it is a proven method that produces solid data on people sleeping rough.”

Registry Week was developed in New York in 1990 by Common Ground as the first step in its Street to Home model to house and support rough sleepers based on Boston Healthcare for Homeless Program research.

It has been adopted in Australia and runs in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

“We are launching it in Newcastle this year because it has been really successful in Australia,” Ms McDaid said.

“Within a year of the first Registry Week in Brisbane in 2010, 50 of the city’s chronically homeless people had permanent housing.”

Newcastle Registry Week is funded by Nova for Women and Children through NSW’s Family and Community Services and is coordinated by the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW. 

“I hope that as Newcastle’s Registry Week picks up momentum more organisations, businesses and individuals will come on board,” said Ms McDaid. “With this in mind we have designed the tag line ‘Together ending homelessness – Newcastle’.

“There are plenty of ways to get involved, by volunteering for Registry Week, reporting a rough sleeper, donating a suspended coffee or meal or providing a room or property.”

Find out more: mtcwickham@vinnies.org.au, 4961 1411.

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