LOCAL agencies are working together to make sure people sleeping rough and ‘couch surfing’ in and around Port Lincoln are counted in tonight’s Census.
West Coast Youth and Community Support homelessness case manager Sarah O’Grady said it was important for homeless people to complete the Census as the data collected affected government funding and therefore the level of support for people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“When people are sleeping rough or couch surfing and they’re not represented in the Census then the funding is not adequately allocated and the problem just continues to grow,” Ms O’Grady said.
She said in the last Census, the number of homeless people was “massively under reported”.
She said there were special forms for people sleeping rough and those without “tenure” who may be sleeping in a car, shed, caravan or someone else’s home.
“The numbers are greater of these people and they are homeless too.”
Port Lincoln Community House manager Linda Davies said literacy was also an issue and local support services were happy to help anyone who needed assistance with their form.
“We know in Port Lincoln there are people who are not being captured (in the statistics).”
A series of events are running this week to help anyone without a permanent home complete a Census form, including a Community House Census Party dinner tonight, a Port Lincoln Library session from noon to 3pm on Friday and and a library Census Party from 10am to 3pm on Friday with free food from 1pm to 2pm, balloons and giveaways and information about homelessness support.
The West Coast Youth and Community Support office will be open to provide Census support today from 9am to 5pm, Thursday from 4pm to 6pm and Friday from 7pm to 9pm.
Workers will also be out and about on the street tonight and Saturday night with Census forms for anyone without a permanent home.