Family violence, financial difficulties and a lack of affordable housing are the three main causes of homelessness.

Geelong group feeds the city’s most vulnerable

June 5, 2019 BY

THE number of people doing it tough in Geelong has seen a local food aid initiative serve up to 160 meals a day, says The Outpost president Danielle McDonald.

A not-for-profit organisation, The Outpost exists to provide meals, sanitary supplies, blankets and sleeping bags to the city’s most vulnerable.

Ms McDonald said she began volunteering at The Outpost nine years ago after hearing about its vital role in the community.

“Our main focus is feeding people meals. It’s (homelessness) getting worse every week. We would serve 80 meals at lunch time and up to 80 meals at night-time,” she said.

“There’s no referrals to come to The Outpost – people can just turn up. Whoever presents for a meal, we serve.”

Located at Transit Place opposite the Transport FRESHWATER Creek Steiner School will host a hemp building workshop later this month. Presented by David Brian (seen here) from Southern Hemp, the hands-on workshop will cover everything involved in building a house out of hemp from the ground up. The key features of a hemp house are its insulation properties, fire and termite resistance, acoustic performance and breathability. The workshop will be held at the Freshwater Creek Steiner School in McIntyres Road on June 15.

For more information, phone David on 0407 775 336.

Accident Commission offices on Brougham Street, The Outpost has been servicing Geelong and its surrounds for about 29 years.

Ms McDonald, who also co-ordinates the roster for the group’s 80 volunteers, said The Outpost abides by a “no questions asked” policy and sadly dishes plates of food to many young families and children.

“Some people are sleeping in cars and doorways; others aren’t homeless but are doing it tough with bills. We serve a lot of single parents,” she said.

“We are very much a community – you see the same people come and go all the time. Our services are really just to make sure that people have a meal, there’s a place to come and feel safe, and they can have a bit of a chat with volunteers and with their friends.”

A 2018 “Homelessness Heat Map” out of Council to Homeless Persons found 36.1 per cent of Geelong’s homeless were living in severely crowded dwellings, while 28.8 per cent had accessed crisis accommodation, 12.5 per cent were couch surfing and 4.8 per cent were sleeping rough.

Geelong was also ranked the second worst electorate for homelessness in regional Victoria, with Lara taking the fifth spot.

All meals served out of The Outpost are prepared off-site by registered kitchens. The Outpost is currently seeking donations of single-bed blankets and sleeping bags but has limited storage space on site. Cash donations are welcomed.

The Outpost is open for lunch between 10am- 2pm Monday to Friday and dinner from 7pm- 10pm Monday to Sunday. Its services are available 365 days a year.

For more, visit geelong-theoutpost.business.site or phone 5223 1201.