Busy Code Blue period in Port Lincoln

CODE BLUE: West Coast Youth and Community Support case managers Katrina Vlassco and James Stockham out in Port Lincoln checking areas across Port Lincoln during Code Blue last Wednesday night.
CODE BLUE: West Coast Youth and Community Support case managers Katrina Vlassco and James Stockham out in Port Lincoln checking areas across Port Lincoln during Code Blue last Wednesday night.

West Coast Youth and Community Support experienced high demand for services from people sleeping rough in Port Lincoln during the past week.

A Code Blue was activated on August 5 through to August 7 across the state, including in Port Lincoln due to very cold and wet conditions being forecast across the state.

During a Code Blue homelessness service providers like West Coast Youth and Community Support visit known rough sleeper locations to check in on people and make them aware of the support available.

West Coast Youth and Community Support chief executive officer Jo Clark said this had been one of the busiest Code Blue periods in a long time with a high demand of services from people couch surfing and rough sleeping.

"We supported five rough sleepers with a total of 45 individual services provided, from securing accommodation options to warm food, toiletries and clothes, as well as transport," she said.

"This has been one of the busiest (Code Blue periods) with people urgently needing services."

Ms Clark said assistance provided included helping one women get to secure accommodation in Adelaide and explored options with family and friends for others.

During a Code Blue activation, Housing SA, together with its non-government partners try makes additional accommodation available for extended hours for people sleeping rough.

Ms Clark said the organisation supported people and normally many of the people they checked in on, for a range of different reasons, were comfortable where they were.

"However over this period we've seen so many people who desperately want to not be sleeping on the streets," she said.

West Coast Youth and Community Support youth worker and case manager James Stockham went out to check on people during the Cod Blue and said this was at least the third time the organisation had gone out to assist those sleeping rough.

"It's vital for our rough sleepers that we ensure their safety during rough weather," he said.

Ms Clark said the government was looking at service reforms in the homeless sector and the Code Blue period in the past week showed the importance of homeless services in the community.

"Homeless services are the front line for looking after the most vulnerable people in our community," she said.

A criteria for Code Blue includes if conditions are forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology to continue for at least three days with any two of the following: temperatures dropping below an average night-time low of six degrees, significant rainfall and damaging wind or if conditions are forecast to continue for at least five days, when temperatures drop below an average night-time low of five degrees.

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