Homelessness. It has always been with us but rarely around us. The cliched image of an unkempt old man sleeping under a bridge clouds the reality. Not any more.
A detailed investigation by The Border Mail has uncovered the issues and personal stories that starkly illustrate this homelessness crisis. In this special feature series, we hear from three women on the brink, Rose, Sue and Robyn, on the trauma of suddenly being without a home.
A tiny proportion are sleeping rough. That's why it's not obvious. It's the hidden homelessness that we need to worry about. That's what's impacting our community right now.
Hume Region Homelessness Network co-ordinator Jan Armstrong has this insight:
"There are people in the community who for one reason or another they just see the stereotypes. If you see the news recently about the rough sleeping problem in Melbourne and how it looks to people ... we don't see that in regional and rural Victoria. It's very rare to see people rough sleeping.
"If they could see the face of homelessness they would be very, very surprised. If you got all the people that were clients and put them in the high street along with everybody else you wouldn’t be able to pick them out.”
Authorities suspect an alarming number of people in the Border region are in this position, but they're not known about yet because they haven't had the courage to come forward for help. Or they simply don't know who to contact.
Now, welfare leaders agree, is the time to act.
To see Rose, Sue and Robyn's story, go inside our Homelessness Special > Click here
Homelessness | The Complete Series
For two weeks, our reporter Nigel McNay has covered homelessness from every angle on the Border. Following is the complete series of his investigation.