Community worker Nicole Cooney with some of the items needed to help feed the city’s homeless.With the cold weather upon us and the number of homeless people living on Maitland streets and in cars rising, Maitland Neighbourhood Centre has stepped in with a community initiative.

The centre has launched a food drive to help the city’s homeless make it through the winter months and they need businesses and individuals to get behind the cause and raid their cupboards for a donation.

Senior community worker Nicole Cooney said there were several reasons people were forced into homelessness, including domestic violence, mental illness and the cost of housing.

She encouraged businesses to start a donation box and people to donate something to the cause in the lead-up to, or during, Homelessness Week from August 6 to August 12.

“We see homeless people every day and we know it’s a growing concern,” she said.

“The thought of a family living on the street or in a car is not acceptable, and with this food drive we hope to raise the awareness of homelessness and provide assistance to these people in need.”

Ms Cooney said 17 per cent of people over the age of 55 had experienced homelessness and there was a large number of young people who were homeless.

“If people start thinking about homelessness we can begin to find solutions to this issue,” she said.

“This food drive is a very good way to give back.”

Donations can be dropped off at Rutherford Community Centre or phone 4932 0945.

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