More Than 12,000 Reasons To Help The Homeless This Christmas

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1st November 2009, 09:00am - Views: 601





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More than 12,000 reasons to help 

the homeless this Christmas


Embargoed: Not for publication or broadcast: 11am, 1 November, 2009


Wesley Mission has launched its 2009 Christmas Appeal with the bleak news that it has seen

a

dramatic increase in the number of homeless people during the past year.


Wesley Mission provided accommodation for 1536 homeless people during the past year – a

15 per cent increase on 2007-2008. 


Even more disturbing was that it turned away more than 12,720 people or 35 people a day

from centres in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle.


“While economists are predicting a healthier economy we must never forget those who have

been left behind during the Global Financial Crisis,” said Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Keith

Garner. 


“Many of these people have found it almost impossible to find affordable rental

accommodation and will struggle to recover. For many families there are simply no exit points

from the roundabout of crisis accommodation, others are couch surfing between family and

friends, sleeping in garages and being accommodated in cheap hotels.


“Loving parents are stressed, struggling to cope and are wondering where their family will be

next and how they will provide gifts and food for their loved ones this Christmas,” Mr Garner

said. “These people are not out of the woods: they can barely see a path forward. “No one

deserves to be left out this Christmas.”


Wesley Mission’s Financial Counselling service assisted almost 4000 people but was forced

to turn away 40 per cent of eligible referrals or 1541 people.


“People have multiple financial problems which have built up during the high interest rate

period,” Mr Garner said. “These problems have compounded during the past year as

unemployment has hit home and households have not been able to meet debt repayments.

Many of our clients have multiple credit cards, several mortgages and personal loans

requiring more long term support and complex dealings with creditors.” 


The demand for food and financial assistance has grown by 14 per cent between August

2008 and August 2009. 


The number of crisis calls taken by Sydney Lifeline has risen from 12,612 to 16,393. 

“While this is in part due to improved capacity and more volunteer counsellors it also shows

there is still a great need in the community,” Mr Garner said. “Wesley Mission has tapped into

an unmet need.”


Wesley Mission also directly assisted 12,036 families through counselling and other support

and is seeking to raise $550,000 this Christmas to help struggling families and individuals.


Donations can be made at www.wesleymission.org.au/donate or phone 1800 021 821


Media enquiries: 

Graeme Cole, Public Affairs Manager



0408 470 722

Dinoo Kelleghan, Public Affairs Officer


0434 076 644






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