OrangeSky Van hopeful of helping those need

The OrangeSky Van project needs your votes before it can help the homeless in the region.
The OrangeSky Van project needs your votes before it can help the homeless in the region.

Homeless people in the region could soon be able to wash their clothes and shower for free, if the OrangeSky Van project gets off the ground.

Employment Directions, a local not-for-profit organisation dedicated to assisting disadvantaged people, has put forward a project proposal on the YourSAy website. 

The proposal would see an OrangeSky Van placed in the Mid North region to assist the disadvantaged with laundry and showering. 

The project requires votes from the general public to get off the ground and obtain $100,000 in funding from the state government.

If successful, the OrangeSky Van program will provide hygiene services, without judgement or prejudice, to those who are socially isolated and living in poverty.

Colene Noble, youth development office at Employment Directions, said that despite the hygiene services provided by the van, the project is more about discussing uncomfortable issues.

“It's more about the conversation to be had and the connections to be made,” Ms Noble said. 

The project would consist of Employment Directions identifying the areas most in need of the service.

After this, volunteers across the region would make sure the van is available in as many locations as possible.

Unfortunately, the statistics around homeless and disadvantaged people in country areas can sometimes be hard to gauge. 

“It's hard to get specific stats because you can't measure the number of people couch-surfing,” Ms Noble said.

According to Ms Noble, the van will not become available unless enough people vote for it.

“If we gain the funding for the van through public votes, the van will also be made available for natural disasters,” she said. 

According to UnitingCare Wesley, 588 people in the Mid North, Yorke Peninsula and Lower North region were recorded as homeless or at risk in the period between July and December in 2016, with 193 of those caused by domestic violence.

Trish Rollins from UnitingCare Wesley Country SA said that a lot of people are surprised when they learnt the numbers were so high.

“Talking about numbers like that is astounding for a lot of people,” Ms Rollins said. 

"The problem we all face is that the country is such a vast area, and as a result we lack the services to help everyone.”

“We think the van would be a wonderful idea and a great initiative to come to the country,” she said.

To cast a vote for the project, head to www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/fmc_rounds/fund-my-community-2017.