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A yarn with Liz Yeo about tackling homelessness in Inner West Sydney

Liz Yeo CEO Newtown Neighbourhood Center

“A lot of our work is to get people from homelessness or rough sleeping into stable safe and secure accommodation.” – Liz Yeo CEO Newtown Neighbourhood Center (NNC).

In the sidelines of Homelessness Week 2019 we caught up with Liz Yeo CEO of Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC), a frontline organisation engaged in fighting homelessness.

“The sad thing is that the rate of homelessness is increasing. One of the causes for the hike in homelessness, but not the only cause, is a shortage of affordable housing,” Liz Yeo said.

She also highlighted that homeless people face a range of issues. Lack of accommodation is only one of a range of numerous other issues that need to be addressed. Hence, providing a roof alone does not solve the rest of correlated issues.

She stressed that there needs to be a more comprehensive approach tackling other health and social issues attached to homelessness.

 One of the new and worrying trends NNC has identified is a growing number of young people and women falling into homelessness.

Liz Yeo also says that the Indigenous population is the most impacted by homelessness. “It is a real blight on our country.”

She explains that Indigenous homelessness is linked to historical land dispossession, racism and discrimination amongst other factors.

The CEO of NNC says tackling Indigenous homelessness is a real priority.  NNC has signed up to the Redressing Indigenous Homeless Accord. The organisation has also adopted its own apology and is encouraging other agencies to follow in their footsteps.

Liz Yeo also mentioned the success of Newtopian Sleepout, NNC’s grassroots initiative held last Tuesday (August 6). The event saw more than 130 people from all walks of life sleep outside Newtown Square, fully exposed to the harsh winter night, for a glimpse of what rough sleeping is like.

Besides raising awareness Newtopian Sleepout also raised more than $160 000 towards tackling homelessness.

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