Pictured: Mooroopna Education and Activity Centre (MEAC)
In the past months, towns in northern VIC and western NSW have been faced with the devastation and challenge of recent flooding. Natural disasters are often felt most acutely by those already living on the margins or experiencing some form of disadvantage such as financial hardship, homelessness, or poverty. They also place increased pressure on local networks of support, as vulnerable people seek help from known community organisations like food banks, Neighbourhood Houses and Centres. As we did earlier in 2022, StreetSmart has raised funds to support community organisations who are responding to the needs of their flood affected communities. Through the generous support of our donors, $17,400 been raised and distributed to 4 organisations to provide emergency relief, material aid, and food relief to people impacted by floods, particularly those who were previously vulnerable and experiencing disadvantage.
The generous and immediate support from StreetSmart donors and philanthropic partners has enabled 4 local community organisations to boost their capacity to delivery emergency flood relief and support across NSW and VIC. The funding will directly help communities through the provision of food relief, material aid, and emergency relief.
Research in Australia has shown that in response to disasters, localised community organisations like neighbourhood centres play an important role “because they have established community networks and a very local understanding of community strengths that can be leveraged in times of crisis.” We know that these smaller, grassroots services are crucial hubs for initial help-seeking and further support referrals. These grants will bolster the community led response in flood affected towns, ensuring support is continued, particularly for those most vulnerable.
Critical support for local services and people
“We sincerely thank StreetSmart and their supporters for this generous grant. Funds will help us keep our operations going and supplying food to local agencies to distribute for free to the people they support including those affected by the recent severe floods. Our region was hit hard by the recent floods, it is estimated that in excess of 7,000 homes where impacted leaving many people still unable to return to their homes. Demand for our service has increased.
The impact of the floods has added to cost of living pressures, flood damage has increased demand for rental properties and repairs on properties may take months to years to repair leaving many people displaced. The agencies that collect our food continue to tell us they are seeing greater numbers of people needing food relief and they are seeing people that have not needed to access support in the past.” –Glenn Peric, Shepparton Foodshare, (VIC)
Pictured: Shepparton Foodshare
Pictured: Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre
“Our clients that we service were already vulnerable before the addition of flooding and losing everything. Some clients were living in tents, had just been housed, or were experiencing mental health and general health issues. They had no insurance to cover their losses and have very little income to replace what they have. Housing was already an issue in Cowra, so this cohort will find it very difficult to find housing now.
Thank you for this support, it will go a long way in providing Emergency relief, material aid, and food relief to people impacted by floods. We will buy vouchers for food, supplies to make frozen meals, small appliances, clothing and shoes.” –Fran Stead, Cowra Information and Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NSW)
“Echuca is in the midst of a flood crisis followed by recovery. The three-river system does not look set to reduce significantly until after Christmas. The staff has been working tirelessly, and some are experiencing or at risk of exhaustion. While battling our own flood issues, both at work and our homes, staff & volunteers have been working 60-70 hour weeks to assist our community with emergency access to food and water, plus providing support with flood relief funds sought from donations. This is not expected to cease for many months.
We are increasing outreach to connect and engage with members of the community who are without shelter, food, and sanitary services of a suitable level. With our community members having lost everything, this funding will help us support them with the essentials like food, clothes, fridges, and furniture so that they can begin to rebuild and recover.” – Sarah Peake, Echuca Neighbourhood House (VIC)
Pictured: Echuca Neighbourhood House
Pictured: Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre
“Our flood affected community are finding destroyed homes and gardens, not having anywhere to live or finding basic accommodation outside of region. Many are finding the application process for flood relief grants so extremely complex and unreasonable to navigate that they are left further traumatised. Many in our community are feeling that now the flood waters have left, so too has all the support.
We will use the grant to purchase vouchers for petrol, hardware, local chemist supplies and groceries. The vouchers are for essential items a household can use and will help with some bill relief which is causing further stress. Some of the people affected are living (if they have found accommodation) outside of town and are doing a lot of driving so the petrol vouchers will be a big help.”
–Jan Phillips, Mooroopna Education and Activity Centre (VIC)
December 2022 Flood Relief Grants
|Echuca Neighbourhood House||VIC||$4,350.00|
|Mooroonpa Education and Activity Centre||VIC||$4,350.00|
|Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre||NSW||$4,350.00|
Click on the recipients to find out more