Orange Sky laundry to put a positive spin on homelessness in Mandurah


Rovlyn Hester with Orange Sky service operations manager Lisa Sprlyan. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au   d471372
Rovlyn Hester with Orange Sky service operations manager Lisa Sprlyan. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d471372

THINGS are looking up for the homeless in Mandurah thanks to Orange Sky Laundry.

In a first for the region, the volunteer-run charity will give those in need a service where they can wash their clothes.

While the spin cycle runs, volunteers also lend an ear to those in crisis.

Orange Sky service operations manager Lisa Sprlyan has been involved since February 2016 when the first van was launched in Perth.

Ms Sprlyan said Orange Sky could complement organisations in Mandurah that were already helping the homeless.

“The people we help are simply thankful that we’ve taken the time to not only wash their clothes but more importantly taken the time to simply chat,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the general awareness of homelessness is not how we’d like it to be. How many times do people simply keep walking by a homeless person and ignore them as if they aren’t there?

“We need to remember they are everyday people, just like us.”

To reinforce this idea, Orange Sky calls its clients “friends”.

There has been some controversy surrounding the arrival of the service.

Some local service providers expressed concerns that the laundry would not be located at the Mandurah Soup Kitchen, which would have enabled people to have their clothes cleaned while they eat.

City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said the City welcomed Orange Sky, but decided a different location would be best for the service.

“It is the City’s role to take a strategic approach to issues like this,” he said.

“The Sutton Street Hall is a small hall that cannot provide the support services.

“All parties have agreed to trial the selected location and the City will review this arrangement after three months.”

Ms Sprlyan said most councils were receptive to Orange Sky and even approached them to move into a location.

“Whenever we look to operate in an area, we always like to make contact with the local council in conjunction with any other organisations that can help educate us about the area and the situation around homelessness,” she said.

“Not only that but some councils have provided us with grants to facilitate not only our laundry service but other exciting projects that can possibly help provide jobs for the homeless.”

Mr Newman said more State and Federal government funding was needed to address the homelessness problem.

“What’s important to us is that the City actively works with agencies and organisations to combat the complex issues associated with homelessness through a range of at-risk initiatives, including support, funding, advocacy, affordable housing initiatives and early intervention,” he said.

Those needing the service are encouraged to contact St Vincent de Paul, Halo or Anglicare.

Orange Sky launches in Perth South this week and is looking for volunteers to fill shifts in Mandurah on Thursday mornings.

Go to www.orangeskylaundry.com.au/|get_involved to register.