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UPDATE NEW SPEAKER: End Homelessness Now! wayss Unites Community to Address Homelessness during Homelessness Week 2023

wayss 3 mins read

End Homelessness Now!


wayss Unites Community to Address Homelessness during                     Homelessness Week 2023


Dandenong 8 August 2023 wayss, jointly with Greater Dandenong City Council, will today bring together community leaders, advocacy organisations, and service providers at a special community event to mark Homelessness Week 2023.


The event takes place from 11am to 2pm at Harmony Square in Dandenong. It throws the spotlight on homelessness and creates a vital forum at which to make connections and collaborate to support people experiencing homelessness and living in insecure housing.


“Our nation is in a housing crisis, a homelessness catastrophe that demands immediate attention,” wayss CEO Wayne Merritt said.


“Lack of resources is not the core problem, what’s needed is a cohesive national strategy as well as tangible short-term solutions,” Mr Merritt said.


Emphasising the importance of cross-sector collaboration, Mr Merritt said: “We must look for clever, creative solutions. Only by working together will we truly make a difference”.


The southeast region has the highest rate of homelessness in the state, yet only 8.3% of rental properties in the area are affordable to Centrelink recipients. This is fewer than 100 homes.


Greater Dandenong City Council Mayor, Cr Eden Foster said Greater Dandenong is the most culturally diverse community in Australia and consequently has unique needs.  


Homelessness Week is an important opportunity for us to bring to the fore the issue of homelessness and how it impacts our culturally diverse community. By working together with government, businesses and key industry stakeholders, we can strive to ensure that everyone has access to a stable and secure home," the Mayor said.


wayss and Greater Dandenong City Council invites the community to discover practical solutions.


People experiencing or at risk of homelessness are encouraged to attend the event and connect with service providers and advocates. Food will be provided.


“Having a safe and stable roof over your head is a basic human right, a right which, alarmingly, a growing number of Australians no longer enjoy,” Mr Merritt said.


wayss believes a cohesive, nation-wide approach is needed to tackle homelessness. The organisation calls for investment in both secure housing for people feeling the impacts right now.


Providing more long-term social and affordable housing is needed to ensure safe housing for those impacted by family violence.


Along with supporting more people and reorienting support to focus on early intervention and prevention, system-wide reform to target and personalise support to individual needs is essential.


As Homelessness Week unfolds, wayss calls upon the community, policy makers, government officials, and other advocacy groups to join forces in the quest for meaningful change.


The only way to address the growing demand for support for secure and affordable housing is to collaborate across the sector, with government, business, the community, and importantly, with those who have or are experiencing homelessness or at risk. We must look for clever, creative solutions – together.


“Only by working together will we truly make a difference. We can work to create a future where safe, secure housing is a reality for all,” Mr Merritt said.


Event details:


Date:               Tuesday, 8 August 2023

Time:               11am-2pm (official proceedings and speeches commence at 11.10am)

Location:        Harmony Square, Dandenong, Victoria





Media contact


Monika Lancucki Mob: 0413 440 236  Email:

Alana Anastovska Mob: 0476 206 306 Email:


Interviews available


  • Mayor Greater Dandenong City Council, Cr Eden Foster
  • Executive Director of Homelessness and Housing Support For Dept of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), Sherri Bruinhout
  • CEO, wayss, Mr Wayne Merritt
  • Young person with lived experience, Jenaya Newy


About wayss 


A longstanding member of the community in the heart of Melbourne’s culturally and linguistically diverse southeast region, wayss provides critical accommodation and homelessness services to those in the local area. wayss is the largest homelessness service in the area offering crucial programs including crisis supported accommodation, women's outreach, and youth services. Guided by an unwavering commitment to the dignity and particular individual needs of all who turn to it for assistance, wayss is a safe and welcoming place that brings hope and opportunities to those who need them most.


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