Community GroupsNews

Helping those most at risk of homelessness

With so much focus on affordable housing at the moment, you might have noticed more people sleeping rough and wondered what you can do to help.

Newtown Neighbourhood Centre is making it easy for the community to lend a hand with the launch of two exciting projects – Newtopian Dream and Boarding House Awards. We are also encouraging people to be part of the broader Sydney Alliance campaign for affordable housing.

Each project is open to the public and allows anybody to pitch in to improve the situation for some our community’s most vulnerable.

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 This winter, up to 60 Newtownians will spend a night on the streets to raise money and awareness for those who aren’t there by choice.

The inaugural sleep out event “Newtopian Dream” is being held on Tuesday August 29 by Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC) to raise at least $60,000.

Participants will experience a night of sleeping under the stars in Newtown Square with nothing more than a sheet of cardboard and a sleeping bag between them and the elements.

Each “Dreamer” will seek sponsorship of at least $1,000 from friends and colleagues in return for making it through the night.

Funds raised will help NNC provide frontline assistance to the growing number of vulnerable people in the Inner West who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

“We believe nobody should have to sleep on the streets and we want to keep assisting those who are at risk of homelessness, while also advocating for more affordable housing,” says Liz Yeo, CEO of NNC. “Keeping people in safe and affordable shelter is not just better for the individual, but for the community as a whole.

“We want to congratulate the people who have already signed up to sleep out at Newtopian Dream and encourage the community to show their support by registering to sleep out or sponsoring somebody who is,” says Yeo.

To register, sponsor or for more information visit


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Negative stereotypes of boarding houses can make it more difficult for residents to get jobs or establish personal relationships according to NNC Housing Services Manager Paul Adabie.

“Working directly with boarding house residents, we come face to face with the difficulties residents experience due to discrimination and negative stereotypes.”

To challenge this, the centre has launched the Good Practice Awards for Boarding Houses.

“Not all boarding houses are as bad as the images many people hold of them. Many boarding house operators try hard to provide much needed affordable accommodation for some of the poorest people in the community. For many residents, boarding houses provide stable, affordable and supportive accommodation.”

“Our bold program will recognise healthy, safe, compliant and affordable boarding houses in the Inner West local government area,” said Adabie. “We want to recognise them and change the way society views this important part of the community’s housing mix.”

There are three awards recognising good practice in the industry with over $1,000 in prize money:

  1. Large Boarding House of the Year (13 or more residents)
  2. Small Boarding House of the Year (less than 13 residents)
  3. Community Connection Award, recognising an individual who shows a commitment to encouraging a sense of belonging amongst residents.

Anyone can nominate a boarding house in the Inner West by completing a form at NNC or downloading a form. Entries close on July 10.

For nomination forms or more information visit

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