A national homelessness service has urged border residents to seek help early if they are struggling financially.
Mission Australia CEO James Toomey visited the organisation's Albury office yesterday to discuss local concerns and advocate for more social and affordable housing to help end homelessness.
He said low income families should not allow stigma to stop them being proactive in getting the financial help they need.
"People can't admit it to themselves because of the stigma associated with not being able to pay your rent and becoming homeless," Mr Toomey said.
"One of the reasons that people find themselves falling into homelessness is...because when they started to get into financial difficulty and were fearful of homelessness, there was no one there they felt they could talk to.
"They wouldn't want to talk to a friend and say 'I think I might be at risk of becoming homeless', or an organisation like Mission Australia," he said.
He has urged people to address their financial concerns early and take a preventative approach to homelessness.
"Don't wait that long," he said.
"Try to identify if you will need financial counselling or financial support.
"There are organisations that can provide that and prevent this becoming an issue in the first place.
Since before the pandemic, Mission Australia has been advocating with other charities and organisations, for 500 000 social and affordable homes to be built in Australia over the next few years.
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Mr Toomey said now, due to coronavirus, rising house and rental prices in the region had exacerbated the financial pressure on low income families, leading to increased homelessness.
"The pressures on affordable housing are even greater than they were," he said.
"Trying to catch up with that is very difficult, which is why it's important to look at all sorts of different responses and ways of actually generating more affordable housing stock, not just through building it."
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 125 people in Albury are homeless, but Mission Australia said it expects this years census will show the number has increased.
"We anticipate seeing the challenges increase for people living on low income and increasingly turning to organisations like Mission Australia for emergency relief," Mr Toomey said.
"If we don't address that we're just going to see more homeless people in Australia and all of the challenges that come with that," he said.
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