Newtown Neighbourhood Centre - Newtopian Outreach
We caught up with Liz Yeo and Georgia Carter of Newtown Neighbourhood Centre this month and heard about their fantastic initiative, The Newtopian Outreachers Program, designed to tackle homelessness.
The Newtopian Outreachers program involves volunteers taking part in a weekly outreach where they engage with people experiencing homelessness. The teams are able to offer assistance and this can include how to access temporary crisis accommodation, where to get meals or where to find other local support services. This project aims to create a sense of community and change perceptions and assumptions about people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers are encouraged to share their journey with friends and family to help raise awareness and grow a network of informed community members. Our goal is to create a more caring, connected society who advocate for both the practical housing and service needs and the importance of community connection for people experiencing homelessness.
In 2018 we first launched our Newtopian Outreach program in Newtown. This program is now in its fourth year and has trained 33 passionate and committed locals to actively address homelessness in Newtown.
In 2020, we had the opportunity to expand the program and launch in Sydney CBD. Despite a delay to the training process due to COVID-19, 38 volunteers were able to participate in multiple outreaches at the end of 2020.
We are excited to be recommencing volunteer outreach for a second year in the CBD and will continue to develop partnerships with other agencies who play a key role in ensuring housing outcomes for the people our teams connect with.
What Volunteers have to say:
“When I saw someone on the streets before, I was nervous and felt guilty, I put my head down and walked away because I did not know what to do. Now I am more confident to talk to someone and at least smile. I know we all need human interaction, smile and say hello and it could make their day.”
"For us, it's a chance to get to know some of our most vulnerable neighbours and make a real impact in their lives. It is so great when we hear that people we've met and got to know are now in a more stable living situation."
“The program changed me. I now stop before judging and making conclusions about people I see on the streets. We see the external attributes but not the story behind what we see on the outside.”
“Now I exclude all the quick judgements and I am more empathetic and compassionate, because I know there are so many things behind the story.”
Contact Information Website newtowncentre.org/community-homeless-outreach.html
Contact Karen Hunter Number 0402 450 189