The changing face of homelessness has seen the Wollongong Homeless Hub and Housing Services launch a new method of reaching out to those sleeping rough.
The Keira Street based service has purchased a $200,000 purpose-built mobile van to provide services where people need it most.
For now, the support centre in Keira Street will remain operational for two days a week, but the service plans to transition to a fully mobile model in the years ahead.
Hub CEO Mandy Booker said they had partnered with neighbourhood centres in Bellambi, Berkeley and Warrawong to provide services at those locations.
"It allows us to reach people that may have had barriers coming into service centers, and allows us to meet people where they're at rather than expecting them to come into the city," she said.
St Vincent de Paul Society estimates that 2500 people are on the wait list for public housing in the Illawarra, and there is a ten year wait for public housing.
This has forced locals to turn to alternative accommodation options.
"We're seeing a lot of people living in vehicles, because they have pets and they're not able to access crisis accommodation or long-term rentals," Ms Booker said.
The van will provide connections and pathways to long term housing through partnerships with legal and government services and case managers who can attend to the specific requirements of those on the street.
The van has been purchased through a bequest from teacher and University of Wollongong student support worker Elizabeth Hilton, who passed away in 2020.
"It isn't just about crisis intervention, it is about a long term plan to assist people out of homelessness into housing," Ms Booker said.
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