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Supporting vulnerable people during SA’s Lockdown

The recent lockdown put a lot of pressure on SA households who are homeless and struggling under compounding layers of adversity

First – we are so thankful for and proud of the ongoing efforts of our various dedicated Service Pathways teams that have:

  • Dynamically adapted to lockdown conditions
  • Remained loyal to their work teams and dutifully filled shifts in residential care homes for Care Pathways and Disability Pathways
  • Community Pathways and Family Pathways staff have adapted their modes of connection with clients to stay in touch and maintain morale
  • Adventure Pathways, unfortunately, needed to batten down the hatches as their camps had to be cancelled

Second – we are delighted to share that we are making a significant difference to the lives of homeless people:

  • Families and individual people who are living on low incomes… who are often living ‘week to week’ and relying on a weekly pay packet that just may not come!
  • Our WestCare Centre in Wright Street is seeing high demand for our support services:
    • Providing breakfast and lunch for around 130-150 people per day
    • Hosting a pop-up vaccination clinic that has delivered more than 80 Pfizer vaccines so far
    • Clients are also able to access our showers and toilets.
  • Access to Affordable Food – hampers were delivered to people temporarily accommodated in motels
    • Our Community Food Hub, working in conjunction with Foodbank SA, continues to provide free bread, vegetables and low-cost groceries
    • 186 Clients accessed low-cost food during the first 48 hours of lockdown last week
    • 25 hampers were delivered to people who had been ‘sleeping rough’ around the city prior to the lockdown but were supported by our new ‘Toward Home Alliance’ into the safety of motel rooms funded by the SA Housing Authority
  • Emergency Relief – 63 clients accessed ER services on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during lockdown last week
  • Toward Home Alliance (THA) – The innovative new Toward Home Alliance, has been responding to the huge demand for services from people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. The staff of our dedicated Alliance partners have been:
    • Working very long hours over the last few days to help get vulnerable people, including rough sleepers, into motels as quickly as possible.
    • Reaching out to actively engage with people on the streets in order to keep them safe during the Lockdown
    • Aboriginal Community Services and Iwiri are actively engaging with vulnerable Aboriginal people in the parklands, and transporting them home or into the safety of motels
    • The Alliance’s ACCESS team is working with the State-wide Homeless Connect service in response to an unprecedented number of calls for assistance from people at risk of homelessness
    • Within the first 24 hours of Lockdown, approx. 110 people had been accommodated in 10 motels
    • By the next evening (48 hours) over 300 homeless people had been offered the safety of motel rooms and caravan parks.
  • Mental Health supports:
    • One of our THA Members, Sonder quickly mobilised an amazing team of mental health workers last week who proactively engaged with homeless people in the Adelaide CBD, Hills and Southern metro areas to support clients in motels… this is a fantastic, life-saving initiative!
  • Cultural Supports:
    • In addition to Baptist Care SA’s own dedicated Aboriginal Homelessness Services, we were blessed during lockdown to see our Toward Home Partners, working as part of the Wardli-ana (Kaurna for ‘Toward Home’), leap into action. Sincere thanks to:
      • Aboriginal Community Services
      • Iwiri Corporation
      • Aboriginal Family Support Services.

Graham Brown

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