Where to seek shelter as SA braces for alarming weather conditions

Posted 1 week ago by Georgie Waters
Share
With temperatures dropping this winter, a Code Blue notice has been released to provide better support to vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. [Source: Shutterstock]
With temperatures dropping this winter, a Code Blue notice has been released to provide better support to vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. [Source: Shutterstock]

The SA Government has called a ‘Code Blue’ to help support people experiencing homelessness.

Key points

  • The South Australian Government has issued a Code Blue warning to assist people experiencing homelessness as temperatures continue to drop this winter 
  • Almost 26,000 Australians with disability used specialist homelessness services last year, as per recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • Disability Advocate River Night expressed concern that NDIS funding issues could put more Australians with disability at risk of experiencing homelessness

A Code Blue statement has been issued in almost a dozen areas in South Australia to ensure that people experiencing homelessness can get better access to services in the cold temperatures. 

A man experiencing homelessness was found dead on June 30, 2024, having spent the night in his car when temperatures dropped to near zero degrees Celsius. 

Almost 26,000 Australians with disability used specialist homelessness services last year, according to recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

A Code Blue may be activated for significant weather conditions expected to last longer than three days when at least two of the following conditions are present:

  • average night-time temperatures that fall below six degrees Celsius; 
  • extensive rainfall;
  • damaging gusts of wind.

A Code Blue could be triggered by extended cold weather conditions of five or more days where the average temperature falls below five degrees Celsius at night. 

Areas noted in the recent Code Blue include the Adelaide Metropolitan area, Kangaroo Island, Limestone Coast, Riverland and Fleurieu Peninsula. 

Human Services Minister Nat Cook commented on the importance of triggering a Code Blue notification to ensure appropriate services are available for vulnerable South Australians. 

“Code Blue activations help the most vulnerable people in our community stay safe, warm and dry during some of the worst winter weather,” she said.

“With cold temperatures forecasted across most of [South Australia], we have called a Code Blue in almost all regions to make sure people have the support they need.”

People living in regional areas with limited access to support or anyone concerned with shelter can contact Homeless Connect SA on 1800 003 308.

Homelessness services will visit areas that are commonly occupied by rough sleepers to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are made aware of the services available.

Overnight accommodation for people experiencing homelessness is available from July 3 to 4, 2024, at Baptist Care’s West Care Centre in Adelaide. While the accommodation is available from 5pm until 7am the next morning, additional outreach support will be available from 7am to 8am. 

To combat the cold and help hundreds of vulnerable Australians, Ms Cook expressed the value of providing safe places for people to rest.

“On any given night there are between 150 and 200 people sleeping rough in Adelaide’s inner city,” said Ms Cook.

“We are making additional accommodation and outreach services available to the people who need them the most,” said Ms Cook.

Specialist homeless support services also assisted approximately 7,600 Australians with severe or profound disability last year, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

While the activation of Code Blue aims to assist people experiencing homelessness in colder weather, Code Red is activated during severe and extreme heatwaves. This is established in collaboration with State Emergency Services and the Bureau of Meteorology.

However, it’s not only extreme weather that may cause concern for people with disability who are at risk of homelessness. 

According to Disability Advocate River Night, the administration errors occurring within the NDIS are creating insecurity for vulnerable Australians needing funding support.

“We can’t keep going to Minister [Bill Shorten] each time the NDIS delegates make administration errors and cause a participant unnecessary grief and put them at risk of homelessness,” he said.

“[…] [This can place] providers in massive financial risk and cause participants to face homelessness and a breakdown of supports.”

Approximately 4.4 million Australians currently live with disability, as per the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Over 646,000 Australians are registered as NDIS participants and receive funding to support them in daily living which may include social participation and pathways to employment. 

Assistance with daily life, transport, assistive technology and home modifications are some types of supports that NDIS participants use to have a better quality of life, but funding delays put their lives at risk.

 

Are you a person with disability experiencing homelessness? How does the cold weather impact your quality of life?

Let the team at Talking Disability know your thoughts on social media. 

For more information related to disability news, subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter

 

Relevant content:

Up to 75 percent of carers could be putting their health at risk

Bill Shorten will speak at the National Summit on Neurological Conditions today

How thousands of Queenslanders with disability could benefit from this service