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News Article

Event helps homeless in Mackay

Event helps homeless in Mackay

Published:20 April 2017

TOP: Cath Taylor, Kate Gordon, Louise Mitchell, Helen Harrip and Cheryl Sizmur, of CASA, sort through donations to be distributed at the Homeless Expo. BELOW: CQUni Mackay’s Senior Student Systems Officer Tracey Walker has spent months knitting beanies to donate to CASA’s Homeless Expo.

More than 100 000 Australians will be homeless tonight.

Half are under 24 years of age and 10 000 of them are children.

“Even more unsettling is that there are more people out there on the verge of homelessness,” says Lorraine Wirth, Manager of Mackay’s Community Accommodation and Support Agency (CASA).

In response, CASA is calling on the community to spread the word about its upcoming Homeless Expo.

To be held in early May, the event will provide those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with much-needed food, blankets and swags, medical and dental services, immunisations, haircuts and toiletries.

Ms Wirth said last year's event facilitated the distribution of 150 food hampers, 20 ladies’ vanity bags, 55 swags and loads of blankets, clothes, books and toiletries.

“Twenty haircuts, 30 medical and dental checks and 37 flu injections were also issued on the day,” she said.

CASA, which has been operating in Mackay for more than three decades, is a unique organisation that combines housing provision with housing support services.

“In Mackay, CASA delivers an extensive range of services including: short-term crisis accommodation, a HomeStay program (to help those at risk of becoming homeless maintain independent accommodation), community housing, community care (such as domestic assistance and social support), no-interest loans for households on low incomes and emergency relief,” Ms Wirth said.

While CASA is the lead agency in planning the Homeless Expo in Mackay, the event is made possible courtesy of assistance from government and non-government organisations and private enterprises.

This year's expo will be hosted at CQUni Mackay's City Campus in Sydney Street from 10 am to 1 pm on 3 May.

Special guests will include Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert (who will officially open the event) and Member for Mirani Jim Pearce.

As well as supplying the venue, CQUni students and staff have also donated bags of toiletries and beanies (knitted by staff member Tracey Walker) to CASA to distribute on the day.

“At CQUni we pride ourselves on our commitment to inclusion and engagement; thus, we feel it’s important we take part in and support community events such as this,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Engagement, Campuses and Mackay-Whitsunday Region, Professor Pierre Viljoen.

To donate additional items to the expo, please email or phone 4951 4299.

For more information about CASA and its services, please visit .You can also find them on Facebook.

The reality of homelessness

  • More than 100 000 Australians will be homeless tonight
  • Half are under 24 years old and 10 000 are children
  • 1 in 40 children under 5 use a homeless service annually
  • The largest single cause of homelessness in Australia is domestic and family violence
  • The waiting list for public housing is 16 years; for people at extreme risk, the waiting time is 12-18 months.

Source: The Salvation Army (