Church extends helping hand

linking needy with services
linking needy with services

Community engagement co-ordinator Donna Smith said the church helps to find emergency accommodation for up to five people each week and has at least four homeless people using the showering facilities at the church on a regular basis.

‘We are only a small church and are limited with what we can do, but we always try to provide people with the best help,’ she said.

Mrs Smith and a small group of volunteers act as advocates and link people with emergency relief service providers and a range of support agencies that provide financial assistance grants.

Many of the people who approach the church for help are ‘secondary homeless’, which means they sleep on someone’s couch or in their car.

Other people are at risk of eviction due to loss of income or other unforeseen circumstances, Mrs Smith said.

‘Some people are only two missed payments away from finding themselves in a vulnerable position.

‘It only takes one thing to go wrong and you can end up on a slippery slope. If someone loses their licence because they can’t pay a fine, then they can’t get to work.

‘I’ve seen FIFO workers who have the big incomes suddenly finding themselves in a vulnerable position because they have lost their contractor work.’

Mrs Smith believes the high cost of living in WA, combined with the lack of affordable housing, has a lot to do with people seeking emergency accommodation.

She said some of the more severe cases of homelessness were confronting, including people who came to the church not only in need of food, but basic hygiene products.

The church cafe, Caf´┐Ż Lia, provides a free meal each Tuesday night to socially isolated people, single parents, the elderly or people experiencing homelessness,

About 40 volunteers prepare the meals from donated food and serve it in a cafe-like setting.

The church hopes to create a dry food pantry so it can provide people with food at any time.

If you can donate food or hygiene products, contact Kelmscott Church of Christ on 9390 5388 or email donnasmith@kelmscottcc.