Swags donation to help homeless sleeping rough

12 Aug 2015
Access Housing CEO Garry Ellender (right) and St Patrick's Community Support Centre CEO Steve McDermott

Access Housing CEO Garry Ellender (right) and St Patrick’s Community Support Centre CEO Steve McDermott

Access Housing has continued its support of frontline homelessness service providers by again donating swags for the homeless as part of National Homeless Persons Week.

The annual awareness week – held this year between 3-9 August – saw Access Housing donate 48 swags to organisations assisting the homeless across the metropolitan area and Peel and South West regions. Organisations that have benefited from Access Housing’s donations this year include St Patrick’s Community Support Centre in Fremantle, the Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service, the Bunbury In-Town Lunch Centre, WestAus Crisis and Welfare Services and Full Circle in Mandurah. These organisations will allocate the swags to some of the most in-need members of their local homeless community.

The swags are light weight, waterproof and roll up into a backpack that also has space for personal belongings.

Access Housing Chief Executive Officer Garry Ellender said it was vital that businesses such as Access Housing continued to support organisations that operate on the frontline of combatting homelessness.

“Homelessness is one of Australia’s growing scourges and an issue that deserves greater public awareness and concern because it is an issue that affects the whole of society – not just the person experiencing homelessness,” Mr Ellender said.

Mr Ellender said social and affordable housing was a key area requiring broader corporate and community investment and support in order to help prevent and reduce rates of homelessness.

“Access Housing is proactively and tangibly addressing the shortage of affordable housing in WA via our property development projects, which allow for low to moderate income earners to access sustainable accommodation that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford in the private market,” Mr Ellender said.

“To date Access Housing has completed 150 new affordable dwellings in the South West, Peel and Perth metropolitan regions, retaining 124 for social rental housing. We currently have a further 149 dwellings across eight development sites either in planning or construction, of which 67 will be retained for social and affordable rental housing. This new housing stock will take Access Housing’s total social and affordable rental tenancy leases to more than 2,000 by the end of the year.”

Statistics show that on any given night in Australia more than 105,000 people experience homelessness – 9,500 of which reside in Western Australia. Reports also state another 7,000 Western Australians also live perilously close to becoming homeless on a week to week basis.

“Providing swags to people sleeping rough is an important measure Access Housing is proud to support but our preferred outcome is to see people experiencing homelessness able to access sustainable and secure housing and end their time living on the streets,” Mr Ellender said.