THE Department of Human Services has hailed the impact of Community Newspapers and 6PR’s Sox n Jox appeal, with this year’s campaign the biggest yet.
Thousands of packets of socks and underwear were donated at Community Newspapers branches across Perth during Homelessness Week, which ran from August 1-7.
Ingrid de Ruyter, a Community Engagement Officer with the Federal Government’s Department of Human Services, said the appeal was making a difference in the lives of homeless people.
“I think it’s a fantastic campaign,” Ms de Ruyter.
“So often we look at the big items, the big issues for people such as accommodation, counselling services, even blankets and clothes.
“We can source them in our community and with the clothes they can be second hand, same with blankets and sleeping bags.
“But what people are missing out on are those small clothes, the underwear, the socks and jocks.
“I’ve seen people out in the street, at seven in the morning, with no socks on and they are cold.
“This campaign particularly resonated with me as I could see the benefit and the worth.”
Ms de Ruyter has been a Community Engagement Officer for four years, working in and around central Perth.
Her job involves assisting people who are homeless, from helping them with complex Centrelink inquiries to ensuring they are directed to the best avenues of support.
She is one of the first points of contact for people after they get in touch with the Department.
Ms de Ruyter said Homelessness Week is great to raise the profile of the issue in our society.
“I think having a roof over our heads and a place to call home that is safe is so important for every single person,” she said.
“That’s why the Department has Community Engagement Officers so we can provide support, early intervention and help people access accommodation.”
If people need to access the support the Department provides, they can pop into one of its service centres.
To find your nearest service centre visit http://findus.humanservices.gov.au/.