Helping hand a lifesaver

She knocked on the door of Karnany Aboriginal Centre in Midland, the shop-front of Swan Emergency Accommodation.

�I don�t know why I went to the centre because I�m not Aboriginal,� Ms Stringer said.

�When I stepped inside, I wasn�t alone and found the centre also helps non-Aboriginal people who are in genuine need.

�I was met by a friendly Aboriginal lady, who sat with me and listened to my story.

�She explained how I could be eligible for rent and debt management assistance and also provided a list of emergency assistance in the Midland area that included where to get food, blankets and clothing.�

Ms Stringer said the advice and emergency information sheet she was given could save someone�s life and �certainly saved mine�.

By sharing her story, she hopes others in need do not despair and instead reach out for help to get back on their feet.

Administration worker Jo Narrier was the Karnany employee who came to Karoline�s aid. She said Ms Stringer�s story was a familiar one and was delighted to hear her support had meant so much.

�I�m bringing up five grandchildren and I know what it�s like to have been homeless and have to sleep in a car,� Ms Narrier said.

�The number of people we see at Karnany varies from day to day � sometimes it could be as many as 100 in one day.�

Ms Narrier said the best advice she could give people struggling financially was to keep a roof over their heads and always pay their rent first.

�We see so many homeless people walk through the door and there are places to get free food, blankets and clothing. It breaks my heart when I see an elderly person come in who doesn�t have a home,� Ms Narrier said.

Karnany manager Jill Pearce said employees at the centre were trained to provide emotional support as well as advice.

�We provide a range of emergency services and are linked to many other support services in the Midland area such as Midlas (Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service) in Stafford Street,� she said.

Karnany is an outreach location for emergency relief, Street Doctor (9.30am to noon on Tuesdays) and associated medical and psychological services, alcohol and drug support, housing support and financial hardship.

The Spring Park Road facility also operates as a drop in centre and runs Strong Fathers and money management workshops.

Swan Emergency Accommodation is Federally funded through the Department of Social Services and includes youth and family shelter, with some programs administered by the State Government.