300 HOME­LESS

Albany Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Toby Hussey

Vol­un­teers hope a mo­bile food de­liv­ery ser­vice to help Al­bany’s dis­ad­van­taged could be on the road next year if fund­ing can be sourced.

If we can al­le­vi­ate the meal prob­lem, they can hope­fully get a lit­tle bit of a step up.

A mo­bile food ser­vice de­signed to help some of Al­bany’s nearly 1000 dis­ad­van­taged and home­less res­i­dents could be on the road within months.

Aus­tralian Red Cross and other lo­cal vol­un­teer ser­vices have been work­ing for weeks on plans for a mo­bile food de­liv­ery ser­vice which would sup­port strug­gling peo­ple across Al­bany. They are now seek­ing fund­ing. In a Novem­ber state­ment, ARC said it was look­ing at pro­vid­ing the ser­vice for two nights a week, in­creas­ing to five nights by 2020.

Al­bany Red Cross store man­ager Francine Sey­mour said the van was needed at a time when things were “get­ting worse” for strug­gling res­i­dents.

“Peo­ple are do­ing it harder and harder, they’re work­ing poor — peo­ple are find­ing it re­ally hard to make ends meet and make their pay cheque last longer,” she said.

While tra­di­tional free food ser­vices are avail­able in town, Ms Sey­mour said a food van would be a huge boost for peo­ple who were

Francine Sey­mour

strug­gling to get by in out­ly­ing suburbs. “It would reach the iso­lated peo­ple, peo­ple who aren’t mo­bile, who can’t get down to town to get that food,” she said.

“We spoke to Meals on Wheels . . . they have peo­ple they know who are des­per­ately in need of a meal who can’t come down (to town), so we can go to those ar­eas.”

About 300 peo­ple in Al­bany are be­lieved to be home­less, while about 600 are “dis­ad­van­taged”, mean­ing they strug­gle to sup­port them­selves or their fam­i­lies.

“There’s a lot of peo­ple who won’t feed them­selves and will feed their dogs, or their kids and not them­selves,” Ms Sey­mour said.

“If we can al­le­vi­ate the meal prob­lem, they can hope­fully get a lit­tle bit of a step up.”

Vol­un­teers hope the ser­vice will be op­er­a­tional by mid-next year.

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