homelessness is only six paydays away for many, according to statistics, but for Allan it was one vital surgical procedure.
About two years ago, Allan had just started a new job when he discovered he needed heart surgery and three months off to recover.
He lost the job and ended up on the streets.
He took refuge at UnitingCare West’s Tranby Centre in East Perth, where he was able to have hot meals and hot showers, but only on weekdays.
After raising $150,000 to open the centre for three hours on Saturdays this year, there is the hope to expand to five hours and eventually open Sundays. The centre launched its Turn on the Lights campaign to raise awareness and funds with a community breakfast on Wednesday.
Allan’s life has since turned around, having found secure accommodation, but he still visits the centre.
“I’ve been coming here for about two years; I used to be homeless, I’m not homeless anymore, I just come down here to help out,” he said.
“There are some people here who might not necessarily have drug or alcohol issues but they are lonely so they come here and meet their friends.
“But on weekends, they have got nowhere to go, no food.”
Allan said when you were homeless, “just a shower can brighten up your day”.
“There should be more organisations that help, instead of taking,” he said.
Drew, who spoke to the Guardian Express on his first day at the centre, said he was referred to it from another organisation.
“I advocate places like this,” he said.
“Being open any day would be good, even a Sunday, it wouldn’t matter; the funding would be really good.”
Centre team leader for homelessness and support services Ben Dettmer said they opened Saturdays after discovering a lack of services.
“There’s a gap in services on Saturday just generally; there’s nothing until dinner,” he said.
He said the on first few Saturdays, up to 100 people used the service.
For details of the appeal, go to www.unitingcarewest.org.au/donate/2017-winter-appeal.