Vinnies asks for help to rebuild lives
Western Australia’s largest and most trusted emergency relief provider, the St Vincent de Paul Society, has launched its 2015 Winter Appeal, and is asking the community to support Vinnies in its efforts to Rebuild Lives this winter.
St Vincent de Paul Society WA CEO, Mark Fitzpatrick, said its emergency relief call centre was already struggling to keep up with the number of calls the volunteers were receiving on a daily basis, and this is expected to increase over the winter season.
“Sadly, too many Western Australians will experience a long, cold and often lonely winter,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
Unfortunately, the St Vincent de Paul Society expects the trends of the past few years to continue, meaning we will see an increase in demand for assistance over the coming months.
“With a fragile job market, energy prices and housing costs high and the cost of living increasing, more families are struggling to make ends meet and cover basic household expenses,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
In the last three months, from the beginning of January to the end of March this year, the St Vincent de Paul Society received over 7,869 calls for assistance: that’s over 100 calls a day being received by volunteers in the Belmont Call Centre which operates from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.
In the same three-month time period, the Society has provided $498,615 dollars in support to people in WA. That’s just under half a million, just in emergency relief assistance alone to people in WA.
Most of the requests are for food, followed by assistance with utility bills and then rent.
“Our members and volunteers see the struggles many people face each and every day. By donating to the Vinnies Winter Appeal, you can help us continue this crucial work and make a real difference by helping rebuild lives this winter.
“The St Vincent de Paul Society is really concerned about the long-term impact of current cost of living pressures. There’s no question that the current situation is impacting on many people and making it incredibly difficult for them to provide the basics for their families,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
The appeal runs from the beginning of May to the end of August. To donate, please go to www.vinnies.org.au.
· In 2013/14, the St Vincent de Paul Society in WA assisted more than 38,000 people in emergency relief assistance alone, making 29,448 home visits.
· During that time, the Society provided over $2.5 million, just in emergency relief assistance.
· The St Vincent de Paul Society is the only charity that undertakes “home visitation”, in an attempt to prevent homelessness and service the needs of those disadvantaged in our community.
· In 2013/14, the Society provided 13,870 nights’ sleep for those suffering from homelessness in various locations in WA.
· 12.4 per cent of West Australians are currently living below the poverty line and even more are experiencing housing stress.
· The Society runs WA’s only three-tier mental health recovery service, which also helps those who have experienced homelessness and have a mental health illness.
· With the Rotary Club of Perth, the St Vincent de Paul Society runs WA’s only resource centres for street-present young people aged between 12 and 25 – Passages Resource Centres in Northbridge and Peel, servicing over 2,000 homeless young people per year (www.passagesresourcecentre.com).