People experiencing homelessness have higher rates of illness than people who have homes, but they struggle to afford and access health support. In response, Baptist Care SA’s is finding new ways to help people living with chronic health conditions access the support they need.
Every Wednesday, a free lunch at Baptist Care SA’s WestCare Centre connects service providers and health professionals with people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. The meals create opportunities for conversation.
Attending the lunches is Kevin Kophstein who helps people access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in his role as a Community Manager for Homelessness with Baptcare.
“People don’t realise you don’t need to be homed to be on NDIS”, Kevin says.
Kevin is concerned that because the process of applying for NDIS is highly complicated, people who need the service can slip through the cracks.
“It’s so helpful to be in the same place where people come to shower, eat breakfast, and use the laundry because they feel more comfortable”, he says.
Available at the same time is a physiotherapy clinic where physiotherapy students from UniSA are available for treatment. Fourth year student Matt explains he treats a lot of people experiencing back, neck and leg pain due to their living conditions.
“People are on their feet a lot, carrying heavy loads, and they might not have the most comfortable place to sleep”, he says.
“They’re always so grateful. It’s a simple, practical service but it makes a difference.”