For those living without regular shelter through the winter months, a hospital cafeteria can offer respite and hot chocolate.
This is one of the very intimate details of what it is like to be young and homeless that can be observed at a photo exhibition being staged this month by Uniting Vic.Tas to mark Homelessness Week, which is from 6 to 12 August.
The exhibition of photographs taken by homeless youth launches on 1 August at Port of Sale and is open to the public from 6 to 12 August at the Gippsland Centre.
Samantha’s photos, which include the hospital cafeteria, are part of the exhibition.
For couch surfers like Samantha, public cooking facilities in parks are also useful and free WiFi is important to be able to search for rental properties and find a regular home.
Another exhibitor, 20-year-old Nicole, said she hopes her photos will show what life is like for people that don’t have help.
She learnt that industrial bins were good to sleep in as they were quiet and secluded at night, while trolleys were a good way of keeping her personal items together.
The photo exhibition is just one of several events being held throughout the state by Uniting Vic.Tas during homelessness week.
Blanket Wyndham is inviting families to come to Station Place in Werribee on 9 August from 3pm to 5pm to enjoy free food and activities such as face-painting and an animal nursery for the cost of a donated blanket.
The Uniting team in Wimmera have asked local cafes to take part in the CafeSmart promotion and donate $1 from every coffee sold on 3 August to help fund local homelessness services.
Uniting Vic.Tas is a part of the Wimmera and Grampians Accommodation Network (WAGAN) which will host breakfasts in Stawell and Horsham on Friday 10 August. The breakfasts for business leaders and community members highlight issues around homelessness and examine potential solutions.
According to recently released figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on any given night 24,000 Victorians are homeless.
More than 83,000 people are on the Victorian public housing waiting list, including 25,000 children.
Around 40 percent of homeless Victorians are under 25 and older women are experiencing rapidly increasing levels of homelessness.
During this state election year, Uniting Vic.Tas is lobbying both sides of parliament for a number of key actions to combat homelessness.
Find the list of policies at www.vt.uniting.org.
Read a Q&A with a volunteer from an innovative church shelter project.