People facing homelessness leave a shelter for a hotel. (ABC News: Scott Mitchell)
Visa holders William and Lorena working at FareShare
The EAD Team prepping meals
Back in March as the COVID-19 crisis loomed we reached out to our community partners to listen to their concerns and gauge how to support them best. Nearly all confirmed that food security was a major problem for their homeless and disadvantaged clients. As soon as lock down was announced charity meals programs shut due to social distancing regulations and older volunteers protecting their health. Our response to this urgent food security challenge was to make a number of food relief related grants including supporting FareShare, a long term partner, and we also moved quickly to establish the SmartMeals program.
Photo Credit: Foyer Shepparton
There is often a misconception that homelessness only affects people sleeping rough on the streets. Where in reality this only represents a small number of people living without a safe place to sleep. A significant number of the community partners we support provide services for victims of domestic violence. Women and children fleeing dangerous circumstances may have to leave without any belongings and need immediate care. And the current pandemic is placing even more strain on already stretched services.
“Unfortunately, family violence is more prevalent during and after times of disaster such as bushfires and COVID-19. As a result, we are expecting to see an increase in the number of women and children seeking our service and needing safe accommodation,” said Emma, Family Violence Support Worker, Women’s Liberation Halfway House.
Photo Credit: Sunny Street
UPDATED 28.04.2020 – 2650 meals for vulnerable people provided
Right now charity meals programs are shut across the country. With gatherings restricted and older volunteers protecting their health, food security for vulnerable Australians is an emerging challenge. At the same time restaurants and cafes are closing. This is making workers with limited resources, vulnerable to poverty, hunger and homelessness.
“I truly believe this grant will be lifesaving…”
Peter Valpiani, The Haymarket Foundation
It seems an entire lifetime ago but back in December and before the January bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, just over 100 restaurants around Australia teamed up with their customers to raise funds for local homeless services. This was our 17th DineSmart campaign and our dedicated band of restaurateurs and their staff drove the event – chatting with customers and advocating for a world without homelessness. Little did they know what lay ahead for them and their businesses, and just how important these funds would be for frontline services dealing with a crisis the likes we haven’t seen in a generation.
Last week 33 community grants worth $191,150, funded by DineSmart 2019 donations, were distributed in VIC, NSW, QLD and SA. Read More
We have been continually checking in with our community partners throughout this COVID-19 crisis and one thing rings true for every one, they need funding right now. And thanks to the generous support of venues and customers through our 2019 DineSmart campaign we are able to provide immediate grants to help support them through this difficult time.
We will be sharing a lot of the positive impact we’re able to make in the coming days and weeks. Read More