122,494 people around Australia were estimated to be experiencing homelessness on Census night in 2021, an increase of 5.2% since 2016. 

We do not know exactly how many of those people are currently living rough in Macarthur, but just going by the increasing demands being placed on local charities, they are significant.

And as we head into the coldest months of the year, few are harder hit than the hundreds of couch surfing youths at risk of becoming homeless or who already are.

Wests Group Macarthur and Big Yellow Umbrella have launched their 2023 Winter Appeal, a joint initiative that hopes to collect essential youth oriented winter donations and deliver them directly to those that most need them.  

“Macarthur youths represent a significant cohort of locals at risk of homelessness, with many couch surfing to make it through the colder months,” says Big Yellow Umbrella’s Kim Landouw.

Wests and Big Yellow Umbrella are actively seeking donations of new or handmade items including blanket hoodies, sleeping bags, socks, beanies and toiletries, to be delivered to a nominated collection point including Wests League Club Leumeah and Big Yellow Umbrella head office in Narellan before Friday 30th June.   

The campaign has been designed to support the Macarthur Homelessness Steering Committee, the representative body of a network of organisations in the region providing support, counselling, food, clothing, and accommodation for the most vulnerable.  

“The Appeal is a practical way of offering support, with Wests Leagues Club acting as a drop off point for donations,” Wests Group Chairman Alan Buxton says.

“We are pleased to be able to play a small role in helping young people feel warm, safe, and supported this winter.”