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The Personnel Group takes the lead to tackle homelessness

The Personnel Group takes the lead to tackle homelessness

The Personnel Group takes the lead to tackle homelessness

3min read

A community-wide commitment is crucial to breaking Australia’s homelessness crisis, a border-based not-for-profit believes.

The Personnel Group, a leading provider of disability employment support and counselling services in Albury, has set up a volunteer staff housing and homelessness committee to identify practical ways it can positively help.

Other businesses are urged to do the same.

Speaking ahead of the 2022 Vinnies Community Sleepout to raise awareness and money for homelessness, The Personnel Group CEO John Gibbons says it is necessary to work holistically.

“One of the most significant barriers to employment is access to appropriate housing,” Mr Gibbons says.

“Looking for work and preparing to look for work is extremely difficult without affordable, safe, consistent housing.

“Meaningful employment is just one factor. If you don’t have a safe and stable place to live, your mental health is going to suffer, and access to medical services, education, and fresh healthy food can all be linked.

“That makes it a community issue, and, as a community, everyone has a role to play.”

The Personnel Group housing and homelessness volunteers have recommended a series of initiatives to help the community-based not-for-profit make a difference, including:

  • Engage with local support and care providers to better understand what they do and how The Personnel Group may assist
  • Hold a staff donation initiative, targeting needs in different areas across The Personnel Group’s footprint
  • Create an up-to-date Housing and Homelessness contact list for each area across The Personnel Group footprint
  • Senior management commitment to the August 19 Vinnies Community Sleepout, supported by The Personnel Group fundraising
  • Invite sector experts to raise staff awareness
  • Provide mental health support in the form of counselling services in Albury

Shantelle Lidden, Tailored Support Service Coordinator at St Vincent de Paul, is coordinating the Albury Community Sleepout and spoke to The Personnel Group about how homelessness impacts people from all walks of life.

“For The Personnel Group to take this initiative is fantastic. No other job service provider has approached us, let alone have an action plan to do anything in this space,” Ms Lidden says.

“Every initiative will make a difference for people already facing many life challenges.

“You may be surprised at the outcomes achieved by showing empathy and taking a genuine approach.

“Showing that you understand their situation and are genuine in wanting to assist them will help move people towards obtaining employment which in turn will improve their lives.”

All available senior management staff at The Personnel Group will participate in the Albury Community Sleepout at The Nagle Centre South Albury on Friday, August 19.

“The reality is homelessness is often unseen,” Mr Gibbons says.

“Our staff work with people who don’t identify as homeless because they’re sleeping on a friend’s couch. It’s definitely a silent problem.

“It’s a vicious cycle; you need stable housing to keep a job, and you need a job to have stable housing.

“We need to think outside the box, and it is necessary to work together because working in isolation will not break the cycle.”

Money raised from the Albury Vinnies Community Sleepout will remain in the community.

Funds will support the delivery of tailored support to residents living in St Vincent de Paul social housing properties in Albury, as well as Vinnies Care and Support centres in Albury, Corowa, Holbrook and Lavington which provide financial and material aid to locals in need.

To register or donate visit www.vinnies.org.au/communitysleepout and click on the Albury page link.


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