Over the past 12 months, CatholicCare has helped 672 people in our region facing homelessness.
That's 672 individuals and families in the Forbes, Parkes, Cowra, Weddin and Lachlan shires who haven't been able to secure a place to sleep.
With rental vacancy rates below one per cent in the Central West, Andrew Bament, team leader for CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes specialist homelessness services, describes the availability of affordable rental properties as "horrendous".
CatholicCare has a team of 10 staff in their homelessness services team, and they "really have to think outside the box to get people accommodation," Mr Bament says.
"We have clients with good rental references and good rental history and we just can't get a property," he said.
Mr Bament is quick to add he's not pointing the finger at anyone for the crisis: everyone in sector in the region is doing their best to connect their clients to housing, he says.
So what's caused this issue? It's not really new, CatholicCare has helped some 600 people a year in the region before.
And this isn't the only region experiencing a shortage: Mr Bament says it's not unusual for people to try to come to our area thinking it will be easier to get a home here than other places.
"There are lots of factors contributing (to the problem)," Mr Bament said. "Everything has conspired at the same time."
One of the measures they have taken to help is to lease a couple of properties in Parkes to rent to younger people for six months, and then provide them with rental references.
In crisis, they have a five-bedroom refuge for women and children.
They also connect people to Link2Home which provides 28 nights of accommodation (a year) with the aim of transitioning people to a longer-term solution in that time.