Funding shortage forces St Pat’s to cut weekend services for homeless

Funding shortage forces St Pat’s to cut weekend services for homeless

A SHORTFALL in funding has forced St Patrick’s Community Support Centre to announce it will no longer feed Fremantle’s homeless on weekends.

From October 1, Fremantle’s homeless and at-risk will no longer be able to access weekend meals and showers at St Patrick’s Day Centre, a decision chief executive Steve McDermott said had been “difficult but inevitable”.

“St Pat’s has been operating the weekend service for many years with a significant shortfall in government funding compared with the real cost of running the Day Centre, particularly on weekends,” he said.

“It has come to a point where we can no longer sustain this weekend service without it affecting our weekly operations.

“The gap runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and for a continuation of the service to be viable that funding would need to be recurrent.

“In these circumstances it would be difficult to sustain the service through an appeal to the public unless a major donor was able to commit long term.”

Mr McDermott said the time until October 1 would be spent talking to other agencies to try to lessen the impact on those who rely on the service.

“We will work with other agencies around this, but there are existing services that provide access to food in Fremantle on the weekend, most particularly the Red Cross mobile van,” he said.

“Clients will still be able to access St Pat’s Day Centre services, including meals and showers, on weekdays when our support staff, partner agencies and complimentary services are available to provide a holistic service approach aimed at assisting people into housing.”

He said the next challenge would be finding enough funding to continue St Pat’s Oral Health Clinic, a service he said had been very successful since it opened in August last year.

Donations to the not-for-profit organisation can be made at www.stpats.com.au.

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