Homelessness Week is held throughout the first week of August each year.
Homelessness Week is held throughout the first week of August each year. Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Here's how you can help those doing it tough this Christmas

CLARENCE Valley residents can make the world of difference to someone sleeping rough this Christmas - by powering the homeless to find the support they need.

The Daily Examiner and Australian Regional Media are supporting a campaign asking members of the public to donate $15 to give a homeless person a power card that will charge their mobile phone for four hours and connect them to vital support services via the Ask Izzy app.

While 80% of people experiencing homelessness have a smartphone, charging that phone can be a problem without a place to live.

That's where the Ask Izzy power card can be a lifeline and mean the difference between sleeping on the street and finding a bed for the one in 200 Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness this Christmas.

The Ask Izzy power card plugs into any phone to help connect homeless people to local support services that can offer them anything from a bed, a shower or a meal to counselling and legal advice.

Melbourne not-for-profit Infoxchange developed Ask Izzy in partnership with News Corp Australia, Google and REA Group.

The app, co-designed by people who have experienced homelessness, is free, location based and anonymous.

Vicky Vacondios, a consumer advocate with the Council to Homeless Persons, was once homeless herself and described Ask Izzy as "a saviour" for the people she helped.

"The fact it is a one-stop shop destination for people to be able to find the appropriate services... I think that's one of the brightest ideas someone has come up with," Ms Vacondios said.

Ask Izzy has attracted 1000 searches a week from people seeking support.

*To donate an Ask Izzy power card visit westpac.com.au/askizzy or for more information visit www.facebook.com.au/askizzyau



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