Stir­ring words

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By CAITLIN TILLER

MOST Aus­tralians are “six months away” from be­com­ing home­less, ac­cord­ing to Home­less Healthcare di­rec­tor Anne-Maree Fer­gu­son.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion, founded by Ms Fer­gu­son in 2008, gives ba­sic health care, men­tal health care and re­fer­rals to com­mu­nity ser­vices to peo­ple liv­ing on the streets of Perth.

“A change in work, health or per­sonal cir­cum­stances can leave us with­out an in­come,” she said.

Ms Fer­gu­son said peo­ple sleep­ing rough had a life ex­pectancy of 45.5 years, com­pared to 80 years for av­er­age Aus­tralians.

“The most com­mon prob­lems I see among home­less peo­ple are men­tal dis­or­ders, al­co­hol and drug use, in­juries and poor foot and mouth care.” she said.

A soup kitchen in US inspired Ms Fer­gu­son to bring the Soup Kitchen to Brook­field Place dur­ing Home­less­ness Preven­tion Week.

“Ev­ery­day peo­ple like you and I can help by buy­ing a cup of soup.

“It seems lu­di­crous that in a state like WA that there are more than 10,000 peo­ple sleep­ing out on the streets,” she said.

The Gov­ern­ment House kitchen, The Sen­tinel, Print Hall, Crown Perth and the Trustee will sell soup at Brook­field Place ev­ery work­ing day this week.

Trustee head chef An­dre Mahe said his kitchen made 7080 litres of soup to serve city work­ers and raise money for Home­less Healthcare.

“We’re serv­ing pump­kin soup and gar­lic crou­tons on Wed­nes­day,” Mr Mahe said.

“We all know peo­ple are home­less and liv­ing in the street, but in a place like Perth, you don’t like to see so­cial mis­ery.”

Su­bi­aco res­i­dent Anne Last said she had vol­un­teered for the Soup Kitchen each year be­cause she was pas­sion­ate about men­tal health is­sues.

“I have loved see­ing the in­crease in aware­ness of Home­less Healthcare from year one to year two,” Ms Last said.

The WA pho­tog­ra­pher be­hind Hu­mans of WA, Stu­art Holden will hold an ex­hibit in the foyer of the BHP build­ing un­til Fri­day this week.

“The ex­hi­bi­tion will have im­ages of prom­i­nent West Aus­tralians with their views on home­less­ness,” Ms Fer­gu­son said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d441437

Trustee head chef An­dre Mahe with Soup Kitchen vol­un­teer Anne Last.

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