Redland Community Centre's Homeless United program pulls into Cleveland to help homeless with a warm shower and clean laundry

WASH ON WHEELS: Driver Peter Treloar, Byron Shreeve from Redland City Council with Megan Spicer from Footprints mobile shower and laundry bus and Homeless United co-ordinator Horowai Rameka.
WASH ON WHEELS: Driver Peter Treloar, Byron Shreeve from Redland City Council with Megan Spicer from Footprints mobile shower and laundry bus and Homeless United co-ordinator Horowai Rameka.

AN outreach initiative to support homeless people in Cleveland with showers and laundry has pulled up at the Redland Performing Arts Centre.

Co-ordinator of the Redland Community Centre's Homeless United program, Horowai Rameka helps people across Redlands who are sleeping rough, or couch surfing.

Mr Rameka who knows the plight of homelessness himself, builds relationships with people, gaining their trust and bringing about positive and sustainable change in their lives.

The Footprints shower bus and laundry service has made Cleveland one of its weekly stops after the community identified a need for it, and Redland City Council found a site for it.

Redland Community Centre manager Allison Wicks said council and businesses had reported about five to eight people sleeping rough in the area.

"People think by giving a homeless person money or a meal you are making a difference - it's not," she said.

Ms Wicks said businesses were generous but she encouraged people to refer homeless folk to the centre's Homeless United program rather.

"It's the best way for a long term solution. Our aim is to give homeless people dignity, sustainability and independence," she said.

Kellie Boughen and Horowai Rameka with the food parcels.

Kellie Boughen and Horowai Rameka with the food parcels.

Megan Spicer from the Footprints bus said her team had shifted their focus to Cleveland offering a hygiene service, including health, drug/alcohol tests.

"We have two spacious showers, washing machines and clothing - our clients basic needs are met and they can move on. It's an all-in-one service," she said.

People will also receive food packs when they visit the blue bus.

Ms Wicks predicted that when government COVID grants come to an end or decrease, it would have an effect on the the community.

"It will be catastrophic and I predict a huge increase in homeless family issues," she said.

"We get 12 months of funding from the Department of Housing and Public Works. When that runs out we have to motivate again for more funding. If that is turned down, the service will not continue," she said.

The Homeless United program has funding up until June next year.

The outreach service and the Footprints shower bus and laundry service will be at the back of the RPAC every Tuesday between 1pm and 3pm.