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Local People Fight to End Homelessness

By | CafeSmart, News, Uncategorised | No Comments

We are one month away from CafeSmart – one of the biggest campaigns in the StreetSmart calendar. Behind the scenes, our Sponsors, Roasting Partners, and participating cafes are gearing up to raise funds for homeless services in their local area. Amid the madness that goes into the campaign, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on why it matters.

Homelessness is complex, and its impacts are far reaching.

Funding to the homelessness sector is a complicated web of federal and state government agreements. Too often the first thing on the chopping block when populist sentiment wins over good governance.

When governments retreat from their obligations to our society’s most vulnerable – the responsibility falls on the already struggling not-for-profit sector to make up the difference.

CafeSmart grants pool locally raised donations and direct them into local services that are working on the front lines. These are services that are serving up hot meals, putting roofs over people’s heads, and proving relief packages to people in need.

Youth Futures’ team

One organisation CafeSmart has continued to support over the years is Youth Futures. One of their programs supports young mums to break the cycle of homelessness, and to keep children from needlessly going into state care. Despite the obvious good for the families they assist and the broader community –  they have no government support.

West Coast cafes – Go Coffee Go, Myrtle Ivy, and Yahava are among those getting behind outcomes for Perth. Their efforts have helped to keep Youth Futures programs running.

Another great program CafeSmart donations have supported is Travellers Aid. They do vital work to assist people in crisis. They provide material aid, like hygiene products and phone cards, as well as hot showers, access to phone and internet and travel vouchers. Despite being an important drop-in service for the growing number of rough sleepers, Travellers Aid lost government funding and now depend on the support of grants.

Travellers Aid

Mr Grazier, Higher Ground, Earl Canteen, Blended Beard and Sensory Lab are among our Melbourne locals who keep Travel Aid’s programs open to the city’s most vulnerable.

When governments fail to step up, local people are stepping in. CafeSmart is a day of good will, and hard work by roasters, cafes owners, staff and local people who want to see things change for the better.

CafeSmart is about keeping a young mum and child together, or offering a hot shower to a person in need. It is about providing a leg-up, rather than sending people packing into the cold.

If you’re a café, and want shake up some positive change for your locals, you can sign up here.

If you want to support CafeSmart and #HelpYourHood, find out more here.

 

 

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Hunger and Food Security: an Invisible Crisis

By | StreetFunder, StreetSmart News, Uncategorised | No Comments

CareVan works in the Victorian and NSW boarder and serves up company and hot meals to the most vulnerable in the community.

This month is one of the coldest of the year. For those without a safe place to sleep or without the resources to heat their home, it’s the toughest time of year. That is why we are supporting three projects this June that are providing hot meals to people doing it tough.

Food security is an invisible crisis in our community. The dismantling of the social safety net by successive governments, housing stress, stagnant income growth, job insecurity and the cost of living are piling up – and it’s costing people dearly.

1 in 6 Australians report having experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months, and a quarter of these are going hungry regularly. This is the difference between paying rent or a decent meal. It’s the choice between the gas heater and sending the kids to school with a packed lunch. Kathy Hogarthy at the St Mary’s House of Welcome has been running their meal service for years and explains that the “poorest of the poor” is a fast growing group:

“The demand for our services is unprecedented. In the last six months our daily breakfast has doubled and for some of these people that will be their only meal for the day.
It gets really cold and people need a substantive meal to stay healthy and warm. People are having to make the choice between a poor meal from a 7/11 and their medication or other really essential needs.”

 

Nationally more than 644,000 people now receive food relief each month, a third of whom are children. As a wealthy country it should be deeply shocking that we have eroded our once strong social safety net to such an extent that more than half a million people cannot put food on the table every month.

The depth of this problem is indicated by the diversity of those it effects. People with a disability, seniors, aboriginals, migrants and asylum seekers, women escaping domestic violence, people in rural or remote areas, single parents, as well as single men. Kathy has witnessed a shift in the kind of people coming in for the meal service:

“We are seeing a lot more women than in the past, lots of them sleeping in their cars and coming to us for a shower and a meal. Aboriginal people, and even children. The working poor haven’t seen an income rise in years, and can’t cope. There are so many factors, and so many people who just can’t even scrape by anymore.”

 

Happy diners at the CareVan meal service

The CareVan operates a meal service in Albury Wodonga for some of the communities most vulnerable, many of whom are wedged between different state arrangements of housing and social services. They also support a local church by donating meals, which Stacey Franklin says brings in more working class people who cannot cope with the cost of living, but still have a roof over their heads. Popping in to grab a take-away is less confronting for people who don’t have much interaction with charitable services. For these people, bill shock is a big reason they are struggling and need support when a big bill lands in their letter box.

With the sharp increase of people sleeping rough, we are confronted by poverty every time we step outside. The people cluttered around the safety of inner city streets are at the rough end of crisis. Less visible are families who can’t afford rent, let alone put food on the table. For every six people sleeping rough there is another 100 invisible people not able to afford the basics like food and shelter. Every one of these people deserves better, and that includes a nutritious meal and safe place to call home.

While we believe that governments need to step up and take the lead to address this crisis – we know that takes time, and people are struggling right now. You can support CareVan, St Mary’s House of Welcome and the Adelaide Day Centre meals services through our StreetFunder by following the link below.

StreetSmart is all about crowdfunded people power and getting every dollar donated to where it’s need most.

JOIN US IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER THIS WINTER BY DONATING TO OUR STREETFUNDER

 

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