Evie J Willie to perform at Isa Homeless Matters Sleepout on 4 August 2011

Camping underneath the stars is usually an outback adventure.

But sadly it’s a reality for many people in Mt Isa who do it tough on the streets every night of the week rain, hail or shine.

As part of National Homeless Person’s Week (August 1 to 7) the community of Mt Isa is hosting the Isa Homeless Matters Sleepout on August 4 where people from all walks of life will rough it for one night to raise awareness of homelessness.

According to Queensland Council Of Social Services, Regional Homelessness Profile March 2011 there are 710 homeless or marginally housed people living in the Mt Isa and North Westregion. The majority of whom reside in Mt Isa (population 20,977).

But event organiser Peter Lehmann said these figures, while disconcerting , were not abating with more people living rough due to difficulty obtaining  appropriate housing, social issues, as well as substance and alcohol abuse. By showing what it’s like to sleep in the open, Mr Lehmann hoped the community would become aware of a growing problem in their town.

“It’s too easy to turn a blind eye to it and not look at the problem,” Mr Lehmann said. He further stated that it is encouraging that both Government and non-government sectors are now working together stronger than ever as part of a local Homelessness Community Action Plan.

Indigenous inspiring soul singer and songwriter Evie Willie will be flying up for the event from Sydneyto perform.

Having grown up in rural NSW, she has been performing and writing music since the age of 15.

She uses music to express herself and draws on her Indigenous roots in her songwriting to project a strong message of truth, identity and culture.

Also entertaining will be local identity and Indigenous singer songwriter Viv Edwards who has two self titled albums and a new single that was nominated in the 2010 Deadly Awards.

 Her music is a mixture of soulful ballads from the heart infused with country and jazzy bluesy styles.

 Hailing from Innisfail, Viv is a Mamu Woman traditional owner now residing inMountIsafor the past 21 years and considers herself a “rainforest girl living in the desert”.

– The Isa Homeless Matters Sleepout will be held on August 4 at Mt Isa Rugby Union Oval, Alma Street, Mt Isa with gates opening from 4.30pm.

The main event starts at 5pm with dinner at 5.30pm.

Anyone from the community is welcome to attend and are asked to bring a swag or comfy seating and warm clothes.

Donations of clothes, blankets or non perishable food items are welcome.

There is a strictly no alcohol policy and no glass bottles with security monitoring.

SOURCE:  Mt Isa – Homeless Health Outreach Team


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