Aged care facility Woolgoolga Retirement Village.
Aged care facility Woolgoolga Retirement Village.

Public poos prompt public plea from Woopi aged care CEO

THE head of a Woopi aged care centre has issued a public plea to people using the centre's car park and adjacent bushland to live in.

An exasperated Sasha Andrews, CEO of Woolgoolga Retirement Village said for the last month multiple people have been living outside the centre, defecating in the carpark and leaving rubbish.

Arriving of an evening and leaving early in the morning, Ms Andrews said she had since reported them to police after earlier approaching the people and finding them to be unreceptive to her pleas to stop.

"We kindly ask you to pick up all of your rubbish and human waste, remove it and immediately stop what you are doing and find somewhere else to stay at night," Ms Andrews wrote.

"Doing what you are doing outside of a retirement village and aged care centre where frail older people live is just plain disgusting."

Staff members are now having to regularly clean up the area after several complaints from visitors.

"Its just a tragic situation really. It's just sad people think defecating outside an aged care centre is appropriate," she said.

"Staff have to deal with stuff they shouldn't be dealing with."

While the Facebook post made it clear the people had been reported to the police for the "disgusting" behaviour, Ms Andrews is well aware they could be struggling.

She said if they were "desperate and homeless" there were local services that may be able to help and posted a link to the Hope for the Homeless website.

Ms Andrews was surprised at the tone of some of the responses to the post, with many quick to dismiss them as travellers or fruit pickers.

"We should be taking care of people at this time and we should be displaying compassion," she said.

"But that respect should be mutual."

One person who responded to the post pointed out that with public toilets locked at night, there would be very few options for people who were sleeping rough.

Another suggested investing in more public showers and toilets and increasing the capacity of bins.

The number of people sleeping rough on the Coffs Coast has grown considerably since the last official census which recorded just 323 homeless people in 2016.

A recent Council report estimated that number has pushed out to as many as 2000, with rising house prices and ballooning rents partly to blame.

The other factor has been the lack of investment in social and affordable housing, something which a number of providers are working to reverse with a series of new projects.

Mission Australia are about to commence work on a $8.6 million housing project in the Coffs Harbour CBD which will see an extra 40 one-bedroom apartments built in a five-storey complex.

Another housing provider, Community Housing Ltd recently welcomed $1.6 million dollars in funding to transition more than 20 rough sleepers into long term housing.



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