Hunter Homeless Connect Day is an annual event that links people to vital services such as accommodation and housing providers, health and wellbeing, legal and financial assistance, employment, study, and general support to people who are experiencing homelessness, doing it tough and/or are at risk of homelessness. This is delivered in an environment that maintains dignity, fosters a culture of connectedness, and encourages a sense of being a valued member of the community.
The event has been running since 2009 and each year up to 1,500 guests attend, accessing a one-stop-shop of human and community services, including free haircuts, massages, immunisations, birth certificates, bedding, phone cards, food, clothing and much more.
Hunter Homeless Connect Day is delivered by a ‘community coalition’ of government and non-government services and volunteers, with in-kind and financial support from organisations, community partners and individuals across the Hunter.
We don’t need you to specialise in anything to be a volunteer with Hunter Homeless Connect Inc., you just need to be a compassionate and caring person. All you need is the capacity to have a conversation with someone, an open mind, a willingness to accept people as they are and enthusiasm to roll up your sleeves.
Each year we expect approximately 1000 guests at the event, plus over 300 service providers and volunteers. We don’t promote the event to the general public, guests are referred by specialist homeless services and other organisations and when the gates open to the public at 9.00am, there are lots of people congregating in the area and it’s all systems go!
Be prepared for a busy day! Make sure you plan ahead and you’re on time. You will no doubt have the opportunity to talk to our guests on the day. We don’t have any set list of what to say and what not to say. Just be yourself. Be kind. Be understanding. Be helpful. Listening is the best way to know what people may need.
Hunter Homeless Connect is a significant day for everyone involved, even seasoned volunteers. You may see or hear things you aren’t accustomed to, and you may find it overwhelming. This is normal and it is ok. If you find yourself struggling on the day, find your Volunteer Coordinator or fellow volunteer and have a chat. Take a break. Just let someone know before you go. We know it can be difficult to contemplate going home to a warm bed when others aren’t so fortunate. Focus on the positive outcomes that happen on the day and how small steps are helping.
You don’t need to be concerned about safety. Security is on-site and provided by the venue and we also have a Safety Officer moving about on the day. First Aid are located near the Information Desk and Police have been notified of the event. We are more than happy for volunteers to take photos of themselves with their team and share the love. But please, refrain from taking photos of our guests. We will have a professional photographer on-site on the day, asking permission to take photos of guests as and when appropriate.
Everyone participates in Hunter Homeless Connect Day for their own reasons. You’ll find yourself working alongside people from all walks of life. Some have been before, some haven’t. Some of our volunteers have first attended as guests of Hunter Homeless Connect Day and now give back by volunteering. What we all share is a desire to help others and to make this event happen. So, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, you're all part of a compassionate community and connections made here could become friends for life.
Hunter Homeless Connect Inc. is a volunteer not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day event and the Connecting the Hunter Program.
You must be logged in as a PwC user in order to register for this opportunity.