Helping the homeless sleeping on the streets demands new approaches
I read with interest in the Age Newspaper that Melbourne's Homeless were to be fined for leaving their possessions in a safe place. This plan was by former Lord Mayor Boyle. The plan has now been scrapped. As annoying as the homeless can be with their meagre possessions, begging, and increasing presence, practical solutions are needed for an ever increasing complicated issue.
How were the homeless able to pay fines when no fixed address leaves a person not able to receive a government payment?... an obvious lack of understanding of the complicated issues surrounding homelessness.
The problem needs a proactive strategy to deal with the problem. it could start with more funding for social housing, stop exploitation of our youth by under-employment, an understanding of family breakdown which is across all age groups. Tackle the problem of middle age women who have been caregivers and without skills and Superannuation who now find themselves unable to get a job and pay rent. Some homeless people have pets and refuse to give them up as their dog may be the only companion they have.....do you blame them? The plan clearly showed Mr Doyle was out of touch . It is an enormous problem and all tiers of government cannot pretend that the problem will go away without injections of funding to cope with the ever increasing homeless population.
Ballarat is not exempt from this as we learned from a recent report by the Courier who gave us a glimpse into the lives of two unfortunate homeless women. Spare a thought for these people who endure such hardship and harsh weather conditions. I know there are many volunteers why try to make a difference to these people's lives but governments need to do more. One thing is for sure...if you find yourself homeless, once you have exhausted all the possibilities, you surely will find yourself suffering the effects of mental illness and will have little or no job prospects without a hand up.
Judith Buchanan, Sebastopol.
I read with concern The Courier report June 19 about homeless people camped in the front of the Civic Hall. With overnight zero temperatures and very cold days, I decided to visit Mel,her companion dog Bam, Anne and Ben this afternoon to see if I could help them in my small way. I gave Mel non-perishable foods for them and some dog food for Bam. I was very concerned about their welfare being camped out on the concrete at night. A local welfare organisation had offered them help yesterday and planned to help them move to a house but the local Ballarat police arrested Mel this week, so the planned welfare assistance was cancelled. The city council has a $300,000 funding grant to spend on a talk-fest about a response to homelessness. The first response should be a humane one; go and talk with Mel and Ben and see first-hand what the problems are. Maybe our new Police Inspector Jenny Wilson could also visit with a cup of coffee or tea and apologise for the heavy-handedness. Talk-fests will not solve the homelessness problem in Ballarat. The basic hand of kindness offered, without judgement, to those in need now is what is required.
Dianne Hadden, Ballarat.
Ballarat West Link Road.
This letter is congratulate all the councillors of the Ballarat City for their input to have a new bypass road at the ring road alignment . A great day was had by all those who turned up, and there were good photos, plenty of media coverage plus plenty of bragging . But one major issue with this day was that someone has forgotten to tell someone how to turn the lights on around the new roundabouts and ring road intersection. Still having generators pumping out the lights a bit like the City Oval fiasco.
Neil Henderson, Alfredton.