There is growing concern for the increasing number of people in Hepburn Shire sleeping rough and sleeping in inappropriate housing (e.g. cars). Many have no access to food or even fresh water. Some are camping at Mt. Franklin, in bushland and or surfing friends’ couches. Parks Victoria recently required people to move on after camping in one area for four weeks. There is concern about the prospect of a team of Parks workers coming to move people on from the forest campsites.
An informal group of agencies called Dignity for All have been meeting over the past weeks to coordinate activities to assist this growing number of homeless in our region. The Group was convened by the Manager of the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre, Danny Liversidge, and facilitated by Hepburn Shire Council. Organisations represented include Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre, Central Highlands Rural Health, Hepburn Shire Council, Daylesford Foundation, Safe Place, Good Grub Club, CAFS and Creswick, Trentham and Clunes Neighbourhood Centres.
Currently, their focus lies on the provision of shower and laundry facilities to enable affected individuals to prepare for job interviews or rental applications. People sleeping rough need access to a shower and laundry for basic hygiene. At least one person has cancelled medical appointments saying he didn’t want to attend because he ‘stank to high hell’.
Short term solutions have been enabled. Daylesford Holiday Park has offered their shower and laundry facilities for a small charge. Cab vouchers and change for the laundromat will be provided by Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre. Longer term initiatives include both Clunes and Daylesford Neighbourhood Centres developing onsite laundry and shower facilities to be operational by end of year.
For more information, contact Daylesford neighbourhood Centre on (03) 5348 3569.