ALARMING figures show homelessness rates in the Campaspe Shire doubled between 2011 and 2016.
The data, from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, showed 121 people were homeless in the shire in 2016, compared to just 49 in 2011.
Of the 121, 36 were living in overcrowded houses or spaces, while 27 were living with others.
Three were sleeping rough, 24 were in accommodation provided for the homeless and 22 were in boarding houses.
Kyabram Community and Learning Centre (KCLC) chief executive Jen Savage said despite the scary numbers, it still might not display the whole issue.
“We have the Haven Home, so we regularly see the rising rates of homelessness in our region.
“I think those numbers might be a whole lot worse than they say.
“A lot of kids would be sleeping rough, jumping from house to house or couch to couch, and not necessarily homeless at the time, but they don’t have a real home.”
Ms Savage said KCLC is seeing a growing trend in the number of people asking for assistance.
“Mostly we are seeing a significant rise in people who need assistance with food and that normally ties in with homelessness a lot of the time.
“When you need help eating it often isn’t long until you need help with shelter too.”
While there is no clear way to understand the reasons for the growing rate, Ms Savage said simple arguments could often lead to homelessness.
“It could be a number of factors but one we often see if the family breakdown.
“People have fights and because there is a lack of rental properties available in this town, they can be forced onto the street.”
One of the more startling pieces of the data was the 36 people staying in severely over-crowded houses or spaces. This is defined as requiring four or more extra bedrooms to accommodate people living there.
Ms Savage said anyone living in this sort of dynamic was not living a healthy lifestyle.
“Everyone needs a certain amount of space to live a happy and healthy life, and the people living in those overcrowded houses wouldn’t be getting that.
“I think you’d find too these houses wouldn’t be permanent either, like I said before.”
Ms Savage said KCLC can lend a helping hand to those in need.
“We can provide food, sometimes it’s tough because we don’t actually have a regular supplier, we are lucky we have a strong partnership with Foodshare.
“We also have donated clothes we can offer to people who need them.”