AU – Great Success at Western Sydney Homeless Connect
Western Sydney Homeless Connect (WSHC) is a registered non-profit charity led by a team of skilled, experienced volunteers who have the mission to improve the welfare of Western Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged people.
WSHC hosts an annual event where the aim is to connect those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless with many support service providers in one place, on one day, to achieve real outcomes that help put an end to homelessness.
The Homeless Connect event in 2016 was a part of the Parramatta Homeless Persons Week, taking place on the 8th August. The event was held at the Parramatta Mall, and was a day out for the homeless and disadvantaged people living in Western Sydney. Stalls of government and charity service providers filled the Mall and the Town Hall offering counselling, support and gifts for those in need. Everything was available from free haircuts, foot massages, and health checks, to shoes, clothing and food. The Rapid Relief Team manned by 30 volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church set up tables and BBQs to provide breakfast.
1100 Bacon and egg rolls were cooked and served by RRT between 8:30 and 11:00am, and the barista coffee trailer pumped out coffees as fast as they could the whole time. Other statistics provided by Western Sydney Homeless Connect (WHSC) are interesting and demonstrate the size of the event. “Over 50 volunteers and 50 support providers came together to provide real support for people experiencing homelessness. WSHC gave out 2600 meals from Bunnings Warehouse North Parramatta and Outback Steakhouse Wentworthville, Rapid Relief Team (RRT) and Soul Origin Westfield Parramatta; 1000 care packs, 1500 cups of barista made coffee from RRT and Soul Origin; 242 health checks by Western Sydney University nursing and midwifery students; 30 dental checks; 110 haircuts from HairAid volunteers. We also know that 32 of our support providers made 1602 connections with our homeless or at risk homeless guests.”
We received hearty thanks from many including Western Sydney Homeless Connect, Parramatta Council, and received visits from Geoff Lee, MP for Parramatta and Brad Hazzard, MP for Wakehurst and Minister for Social Housing for a photo opportunity. That afternoon the RRT was on their websites and social media networks! The smiles and thankyous from everybody showed their appreciation for the compassion and support shown by RRT and its volunteers for the community.
We look forward to supporting the event again next year.