Aug 11, 2018


Image result for liz yeo
via Twitter

Liz Yeo is the CEO of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and I was privileged enough to listen to her speak at work on Friday as part of our local health district's activities to observe Homelessness Week.

Image result for newtown neighbourhood centre
via Google Images
Liz is a social worker by profession whose passion is helping the homeless in our area through empowerment and social connection.  Liz is also Newtown personified.  She's dynamic, eloquent, inclusive and as much about action as she is about hopes and dreams.  She's also 110% committed to keeping Newtown gay in all senses of the word.

The figures that she and the others on the panel of invited guests shared with us were eye opening.

The area surrounding Newtown and Camperdown contains the highest number of boarding houses in our state and the highest numbers of homeless people also reside here.  Homelessness isn't exclusively sleeping rough on the streets rather it also sees people live in severely overcrowded houses (residences which require at least four more bedrooms to fit the total number of occupants) and unsecure living arrangements such as couch surfing.

Liz and her team at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre aim to transform lives by first connecting with the people of their area.  The centre educates volunteers on how they can practically help homeless people by linking them to services specific to their needs.  An annual sleep out event brings together members of the community for a night out in Newtown Square to experience just a fraction of what it means to be homeless in the middle of winter (under the watchful eye of three security guards).

I came away from the presentation with new eyes on the community that I call 'mine'.  I don't live in the Inner West but so much of my life is and has been spent here since moving to Sydney.  I am now more aware of the challenges that face the homeless people who live here and what I can do to give them a hand and a leg up.

How has homelessness touched your neighbourhood?


  1. Recent survey was done of Melbourne Residents.
    Most people think homelessness a result of drugs or alcohol
    That’s a cause but not the biggest
    If there were sufficient affordable (to people on low income/ pensions) housing then homelessness would be far less of a problem.
    The root causes- unemployment, domestic violence, no money.

  2. That would have been such an interesting talk, and uplifiting to hear about the things that are being done. We are out in the suburbs so I don't really see a lot of homelessness unless I'm in the city, and it's sad. It's good that the majority of the homeless I see in the morning are near the salvation army centre in the city so I assume they are able to get help there, but it's just sad seeing how some people live.

  3. Hi SSG, such an important topic and I recently heard that many homeless people are Women Over 50. So sad that there is no one in their lives to help them. I am very blessed. xx

  4. I see little homelessness where we live, but every time I come to the city it strikes me in the same way it used to strike me every day. It's an important issue - and one open to judgement - yet so complex. An important topic to talk about.

  5. I see homelessness in the downtown core in my city. There is help from the community and local government but it is a complex issue to solve.

  6. I am so glad that there is such a focus on homelessness now. I feel awful for people I see on the streets. It could easily be any of us if certain factors aligned. It's really no-one's judgement call as to why they are there. They clearly need homes.

  7. I'm not too sure about it in my area but I did hear once that the shelters for those escaping DV were always full, which I guess right there is an immediate major risk for homelessness.

  8. I've heard that middle aged women form a significant homeless category after undergoing a divorce and then being hit with another issue such as health issues or unemployment issues.

  9. Newtown is so close to my heart - it's where I spent a lot of my younger days seeing bands, going shopping or out to dinner. I loved that it was always so inclusive and felt 'safe' compared to other Inner West locations. It makes me sad to think that the people there also struggle with finding a safe place to sleep or keep their stuff.

  10. There is definitely homelessness here on the Central Coast. In fact, I have seen some people's 'beds' left made up in picnic shelters in places where I have gone to take photos. There is a lot of poverty here and there are quite a few agencies trying to help people. Mental illness contributes in this homelessness. Last time we were in Sydney, at Circular Quay I saw a double bed, made up, surrounded by cases, on the ground ready for that night. I have no answers but I know there needs to be more help given without judgment. What a great initiative for your local health group to learn more about it.
    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week's optional prompt is My Hairstyle History. Denyse

  11. It's a growing problem here in NZ too with the cost of living and housing steadily climbing. There are organisations and community centres that provide free meals or meals for a dollar and there are food banks in almost all communities. I think we can all do our little bit by donating at least to food banks.


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