The south-west is not immune to the homelessness crisis gripping Australia.
Throughout Homelessness Week, time and time again, the same message was sent out: more affordable housing for the vulnerable members of our communities is needed.
In the past year rising rents and a housing affordability crisis has led to more than 2000 people accessing homelessness services in the south-west, leading to calls from local agencies for a commitment from state and federal governments to increase investment and provide new properties for those seeking assistance.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare specialist homelessness services collection showed more than 2163 people in the south-west sought assistance from homelessness services in 2017-18.
Rebecca Callahan from the Barwon South West Homelessness Network said the housing affordability crisis had created a dire shortage of affordable options for people on low incomes.
"With more people struggling to afford the private rental market, the demand for affordable or social rental properties is outstripping supply," Ms Callahan said. "This shortage is driving record levels of homelessness.
"The solutions to homelessness are at our fingertips, and we just need the political will to make them happen. We're again calling on the Victorian Government to commit to raising its investment in social housing to the national average and add 3000 new public and community-owned properties a year."
These calls come as south-west homelessness services are stretched to their limits.
Regional manager of SalvoConnect Western, a support agency funded by the government to help those aged 25 and over, Lindsay Stow is the first to admit his staff were under pressure.
"We are funded for 245 intake cases per annum," he said. "In the 2017/18 financial year we had 936 new cases."
The number was so high the agency had to close two mornings a week just to cope with the demand. Despite opening less days each week in 2018/19, there were 677 new cases.
The most popular solution for people to exit SalvoConnect services, as well as most other homelessness services, is through public housing or the private rental market.
But in the current climate of skyrocketing rent price tags and lack of available places, vulnerable people were being forced to stay in the care of community services or their original lodging. That trend is causing waiting lists to balloon, creating the vicious cycle of homelessness.
"There's been no growth in the community housing area in Warrnambool for a long time, and in rural areas there is even less," Mr Stow said.
"The Government don't have the appetite to build more public housing.
"We need more properties on the ground but who are we going to get these from?
"Our staff are being stretched which means it's hard to provide a quality service to all. Our people get into this type of work to help others but when there's no housing and they can't do anything, the job becomes wearing and draining."
Emma House caters for woman and children who are escaping family violence.
People are making do or returning to unsafe situations because there are no other options out there. We need more housing.Deb Pevitt
As family violence has become one of the leading causes for homelessness, Emma House's role is intrinsically linked with finding safe and secure homes for families.
Team leader of accommodation and support Deb Pevitt said while workers attempt to keep women and children in their own homes, in some cases, this is not possible.
"Our figures keep increasing. In July 2019 alone we had 267 intakes across the south-west," she said.
"These women and children are coming to Emma House from police, agency or self-referrals.
"People are making do, or returning to unsafe situations, because there are no other options out there. We need more housing."
Bethany Community Support team leader south-west services Chris Wombwell said the varying services Bethany provided were all touched by homelessness.
Throughout Bethany's services there are specific programs aimed at helping people enter the rental market, helping children involved and aiding families who are at risk of homelessness.
"Our cohort is predominately families - nuclear families or single-parent families. Majority come from a low-income background but not all the time. We have people who are working with a stable source of income who simply can't find sustainable housing," he said.
"If you think of the traditional avenues of obtaining housing such as private rental, the department of housing properties, accessing transitional and emergency housing through community service - there's a real shortage.
"For a lot of families, one of the biggest issues is the private rental market. The mass trend of why people are using our services is that there just isn't enough affordable housing.
"It's a really significant issue that's just getting worse."
Traditionally, Brophy has focused on young people and the issues they're facing.
While there's a wide range of programs and services for youth homelessness, executive manager of the youth services division Kathy Sanderson said the community complex had branched out to focus on adult homelessness services.
"This is an age-old message that we keep conveying. Despite what sounds like very promising options for a lot people, we simply don't have enough of anything for anybody," she said.
"We need more access to crisis accommodation, particularly in peak tourism seasons and we need access to the rental market.
"We need to fix the long public housing lists. There's increases in family violence incidence making it untenable for people to live at home.
"The flow-on effect from small centres into the bigger regional centres impact our ability to deliver a service for people."
While community services across the south-west are crying out for more housing resources, they fears the calls are falling on deaf ears.
Ms Callahan invited state and federal political leaders to the homelessness agencies forum at the Civic Green last week, but most sent apologies with the only representation coming from South West Coast MP Roma Britnell's office.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.