United in giving
MICHAEL James is one of the 105,237 homeless people across Australia who will spend Christmas on the streets.
Mr James (50) has been homeless on and off for almost 20 years, after a relationship break-up left him without a home in 1998.
He is a regular at UnitingCare West (UCW) Tranby in East Perth, which provides food and service referrals.
“A street Christmas is never good,” he said.
“Organisations give you food, but then you are back out on the street, it doesn't change.”
Mr James said shelter was the most difficult thing to access when homeless.
UCW chief executive Amanda Hunt said the organisation had kicked off its Christmas Appeal to help brighten the festive season for homeless people. Donate non-perishable foods, socks and jocks, and unwrapped gifts for people of all ages at the Christmas Appeal workshop at UnitingCare West's Central Office, 16 Sunbury Road, Victoria Park. Purchase gift tag 'baubles' for $1 each at Target stores. Donations at unitingcare west.org.au and clicking on the 2017 Christmas Appeal link, or call 1300 663 298.
She said last year more than 850 gift packs and 1225 food hampers were distributed to families and individuals across Perth and the regions.
“This year we’ve seen a real spike in calls for assistance, so we’re calling on the people of Perth to play their part in helping us prepare and deliver more than 1500 food hampers and at least 1000 gift packs for people of all ages,” Ms Hunt said.
Michael James is full of praise for UnitingCare West.