Tamworth man Graham Cameron has been recognised with a national award for helping run one of the biggest homelessness events in regional Australia.
Graham, who works for Services Australia in Tamworth, helped coordinate the local Homeless Connect day, bringing up to 50 government and community organisations together under the one roof.
“There’s been amazing support for the event as it’s grown over the last few years,” Graham said.
“When Homeless Connect first started in 2013, we had about 330 people attend. Last year, that had grown to approximately 1,000.
“The Tamworth community really gets behind this event. We get lots of offers to help, from making donations of goods and services to offering to participate in the day.”
Graham said the event is a way for community groups to get in touch with people who are homeless, at risk of experiencing homelessness or who are doing it tough.
“There are a lot of people experiencing what they call ‘invisible homelessness’ – couch surfing, sleeping in their cars,” he said.
“You can’t tell if someone is vulnerable just by how they look. Some people are one or two missed mortgage payments away from having nowhere to live.
“Being involved in Homeless Connect has helped build a rapport with some of the people doing it tough in and around Tamworth.
“It also gives us the opportunity to reduce barriers and dispel stereotypes.”
Graham feels the award provides recognition for Tamworth staff and local community organisations and their commitment to making this important event a success.
“It’s a real testament to our regional community,” he said. “The award is a well-deserved nod to the work of a lot of people.”
Visit the Tamworth Homeless Connect day Facebook page.