By Wenxing Yao
As Australia’s homeless crisis grows, people sleeping rough in Melbourne say that they need more bedding and cold weather clothing, after seeing other homeless people die on the streets during winter.
Steve, who is 26 years old and from Melbourne, says he become homeless because he has lost his job.
He said that sometimes people died while sleeping on the streets and that existing support in helpful but nowhere near enough.
“We really need more help from the government, because we need somewhere that we can go at night. It’s not very safe, especially winter is cold,” Steve said.
He says that the warm soup or free lunch provided from different organizations is helpful but what homeless people really need is safety and space for living.
Steve says that there are many alcohol and drugs abuses and mental illness, which is the majority of homeless people on Melbourne’s streets.
However, there are also a lot of people just have gone through hard-time and they don’t have the families, friends or the network to support them.
“Alcohol and drugs being unsafe for homeless people too,” said Steve.
One of the Victoria’s oldest organizations working to combat homelessness, the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), it works to find long-term solutions to the lack of accommodation in the city.
Ian Gough from the CHP says there are 22 thousands of homeless people in Victoria who sleep rough on the streets.
“You don’t have safety, you don’t have security, you don’t have your own personal space, you don’t have the things to define what home is, then you are homeless,” said Mr Gough.
CHP endeavors to find long-term solutions to the lack of accommodation in the city.
Ian says that the problem is more complicated than just providing enough emergency housing, which he said comes with its own problems.