SalvoConnect say there is a small cohort of people sleeping rough and a larger cohort of people couch surfing

HOMELESS people are sleeping rough in the dunes of Warrnambool’s beaches, the foreshore and Lake Pertobe.

Lindsay Stow

Lindsay Stow

SalvoConnect Western region manager Lindsay Stow said there were 14 families on the charity’s wait list for accommodation and 22 single people. 

Mr Stow said the numbers of people needing help had dropped a little in recent weeks but they were bound to increase.

“We know that there are people down at the foreshore, down at Lake Pertobe and in the dunes,” Mr Stow said.

“Places where people can bunker in.

“We have a fairly small cohort of rough sleepers and a large cohort of people sleeping on couches and accessing emergency accommodation.”

Mr Stow said the Warrnambool community may not fully be aware of the extent of homelessness locally because it wasn’t as overt as it was in Melbourne.

He said unless people were affected directly or knew someone affected the issue would not be as noticeable.

Mr Stow said during winter people might find other temporary accommodation through friends.

“When the services can’t respond they can be somewhat resourceful,” Mr Stow said.

“I know we get people coming in who have been staying in their cars or tents.”

Mr Stow said each situation where SalvoConnect provided support was significant in its own right.

“You sort of see people who you might see day in and day out,” he said.

“Or it might be someone who is going through a crisis in their life.

“It could be a one off situation and they need help to get through.

“Each situation is individual and significant and we need to keep that in mind,” he said. 

“Years ago I had a lady who came in and said she got to the door and walked away three times.” 

Mr Stow said causes of homelessness remained varied and could be due to a job loss, a relationship breakdown, illness, loss of a rental, substance abuse or problem gambling.

“When I was doing intake work I can remember interviewing someone and thinking for a whole range of reasons this could easily be me,” he said.

  • Anyone needing help should call SalvoConnect on 5564 9111.