How you can help drop-in centre continue to help 400 a week
STAFF at Fred's Place in Tweed Heads are under the pump and stretched to their limits, but they are not complaining.
The team at the homeless drop-in centre run by the St Vincent de Paul Society are gearing up for their major fundraiser of the year.
The annual Sleepout will be held in Tweed Heads on Thursday, August 29, in grassland behind the Seagulls Club.
The event is the main source of funding for Fred's Place each year, and securing the funds is vital for the service facing increasing pressure.
The drop-in centre was designed to support 40 clients per week, but services manager Alysia Hopkins says her team help an average of 400 each week.
"There is a wide range of different reasons people access (Fred's Place) - the cost of housing and lack of affordable properties in Tweed Heads makes it extremely difficult for homeless people in this area,” Ms Hopkins said.
"We are working with people who are at that point of crisis and guiding them to the services they need.
"We have about three staff on any given day.
"We have one case worker who can be dealing with up to 20 clients.”
Ms Hopkins said the group hoped to raise $20,000 from this year's Sleepout, and all money raised would go back to Fred's Place to help clients in need.
"The Sleepout raises awareness for people who are experiencing homelessness in Tweed Heads or are at risk of homelessness,” Ms Hopkins said.
"All of the money raised will go directly into the service we provide here.
"Homelessness affects several hundred people in the Tweed and Gold Coast, whether it is people sleeping outside in parks, couch-surfing in crowded households, sleeping in cars or in low-cost boarding houses or caravan parks.”
There are several ways people can be part of the Sleepout.
Those wishing to participate will need to take their choice of bedding, a small tent or tarp, or they can sleep in the back of their car. People can also register as a sponsor and donate to the cause.
To donate, or to take part in the Sleepout, visit www.communitysleepout.org.au/fredsplace-tweedheads.