Local News

Facing a "year of devastation", Far South Coast charity says services being "smashed" and calls for more caravans to help homeless


Above: Hum Wilkinson who was very very happy to accept this fabulous caravan wholly donated and delivered from a generous and compassionate family in the Blue Mountains. 

As the Federal Government comes under fire for not doing more to help the homeless and reboot the economy with among other measures, a social housing recovery, creating both jobs and homes, a local charity has put out an urgent call for help.

The Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast say they are facing a huge demand for "non-existent housing stock" from those who are homeless.

It comes as the Australian Council of Social Services warns charities and services will be inundated over the next few months as the recession continues and social security support is wound back for job seeker, leaving the thousands of people unemployed in the region with an impossible $40 a day approximately to live on.  

Now the Social Justice Advocates have put out the following call via their chair Mick Brosnan. 

Mick says, "National Government Organisations such as Mission Aus, SEWACS Youth, Family services et.al. are being inundated with cries for help and specifically housing. THEY ARE BEING SMASHED especially in the last months. This is the start of what most predict to a year of devastation for the needy re housing and eventually homelessness.

"Our LIFERAFT programme started as an extension of our long term SJA crisis housing initiative. This initiative is to provide crisis accomodation within our shire, working with the service providers and local churches etc., for the homeless.

"In late January as a response to the fire devastation we morphed any vacant caravans to the fire victims to start our LIFERAFT PROJECT. We have had over 30 vans donated totally or very heavily reduced price and, over $80,000 donated from Bega Seventh Day Adventist Church , Sydney Church of the Latter Day Saints, the Sapphire Anglican Church, DLS Brothers Oakhill community and several private donors to purchase and donate, or loan vans to those fire survivors to enable them to get back onto their properties and perhaps start their arduous path back to Recovery.

"So given the above, we have moved 50 + vans onto properties to help our community recover and become empowered again. FYI the generosity of the community has extended from Queensland down to Melbourne and in between. 

"A classic case is that of a young family of four who wanted to help with a monetary donation through Social Justice Advocates. Instead they met me at Pambula and handed over their fabulous camper van in which they had just holidayed. Driving back to their home in Melbourne they left me with a fully-equipped five sleeper camper - LIFERAFT BUT — now we have a huge demand on non-existent housing stock from those who are homeless.

"The causes of homelessness are well known (and rarely addressed sufficiently) but suffice to say the number of single women - with or without children - has continued to increase markedly. AND Older women suffering this indignity and humiliation..

"SO — If anyone has a caravan to donate please now is the time!!!!!!!

"CRITERIA — Van to be towable and within reasonable distance within or to our Bega Shire.

"NOTE — Like all charities and service clubs the Social Justice Advocates have little money at all to purchase vans as we sustain many aspects of advocacy within our shire."