Food­share help­ing with the strug­gle

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

Moira Food­share and Op­por­tu­nity Shop man­ager Robin Har­wood said the Moira Food­share pro­gram, which is avail­able in Yar­ra­wonga, was in­tro­duced to help those strug­gling with funds to buy gro­ceries and fill their stom­achs.

“We work closely with other ser­vice providers to as­sist those who are in need and we also try to sup­port each other so we can sup­port those in need,” Robin said.

“Our ser­vice uses a voucher sys­tem where peo­ple are able to use our ser­vice up to six times a year, but if some­body comes in and is re­ally strug­gling we are not go­ing to turn them down – we are flex­i­ble, we have rules but at the same time we will sup­port some­one and fol­low them through so we know they’ll be ok.

“The vouch­ers will al­ways say for how many peo­ple it is for and we will record some de­tails for our books to know how much food is go­ing out and how much each peo­ple may use the ser­vice.

“We also don’t want to pry into peo­ple’s per­sonal lives and make them feel un­com­fort­able so

we gen­er­ally just ask is there any other is­sues we can help you with, is there any other ser­vices that can sup­port you? If we can re­as­sure them they are not alone and we are here to sup­port as well as other ser­vices then hope- fully these peo­ple will be ok and will be able to get back on track.”

The Moira Food­share ser­vice is now one of the only in re­gional Vic­to­ria that pro­vide round the clock as­sis­tance.

“We are re­ally only of­fi­cially open Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day but our ser­vice is al­ways ac­ces­si­ble on those days when we are not open,” Robin said.

“We now have a 24/7 ser­vice in the Moira Shire, where the shire can ring me or my two co-or­di­na­tors at any time of day or night with some is­sue and we can act im­me­di­ately.

“Moira Shire is our main area but we’re also into Ber­ri­gan, Fed­er­a­tion, Mur­rumbidgee and Lock­hart shires.

“If they are go­ing to lob on our doorstep you can bet they need food, we haven’t re­ally had any­body who has abused the sys­tem but we ba­si­cally en­cour­age peo­ple to go to St Vin­cents de Paul in Witt St first be­cause they are trained to talk to those peo­ple strug­gling and can pro­vide them with a voucher for our ser­vice as well as link­ing them into other ser­vices they may re­quire.”

Robin said he had a team of around 20 fan­tas­tic vol­un­teers who come in to put ham­pers to­gether and as­sist peo­ple when they come in to the ‘store’ re­quir­ing help.

“We have 20 vol­un­teers who take it in terms to come in and pre­pare ham­pers, and who can also read peo­ple and hand some in­for­ma­tion on to me if need be,” Robin said.

“Our vol­un­teers try and put a cou­ple of boxes to­gether for each fam­ily so that should last them for a week to 10 days.

“We rely on lo­cal pro­duc­ers but we also get an or­der from Food­bank Vic­to­ria each week of 300-400kgs of fresh pro­duce and we can be fairly gen­er­ous with our food be­cause our sup­ply is strong at the mo­ment. “Food­bank Vic­to­ria is a big help to us. “There are lots of rea­sons for home­less­ness, of­ten in no fault of their own but in this area there is not the itin­er­ant work around that there used to be and that was of­ten our big­gest form of home­less­ness,” Robin said.

“The big thing here is we are a big growth cen­tre so our rental prices have been pushed up and some­times it is a strug­gle for peo­ple to be able to pay rent and buy food but we would like peo­ple to know there are ser­vices in our area which can pro­vide as­sis­tance.”

The Hume Re­gion Home­less­ness Net­work (HRHN) re­lat­ing to the Home­less­ness in Goul­burn Ovens Mur­ray re­gion re­port stated in Jan­uary - March 2017, there were 1281 af­ford­able prop­er­ties avail­able across the re­gion.

In June – Oc­to­ber of the same year there were 3288 house­holds wait­ing for so­cial hous­ing

This means that there was a 2007 (61%) short­fall of af­ford­able pri­vate rental prop­er­ties for the num­ber of peo­ple wait­ing.

The re­port also stated all 1281 af­ford­able prop­er­ties in July-Septem­ber 2017 were all ten­anted, which means that those on low-in­comes/so­cial hous­ing wait lists missed out on ac­cess­ing these prop­er­ties.

Sin­gle men were also found to be gen­er­ally pushed to the back of the queue as re­sources are ded­i­cated pri­mar­ily to fam­i­lies.

For sin­gle peo­ple for­tu­nate enough to ob­tain pri­vate rentals, they pay in ex­cess of 37% of their in­come on rent for a 1-bed­room prop­erty and 57% of their in­come on rent for a 2-bed­room prop­erty based on me­dian rental prices, far ex­ceed­ing the max­i­mum na­tional af­ford­abil­ity bench­mark of 30%.

The es­ti­mated na­tional hous­ing short­fall now pre­dicts the num­bers to be at 492,000 by 2021 and 663,000 by 2031.

Moira Food­share Yar­ra­wonga branch vol­un­teers Bar­bara Eberle, Gra­ham Eberle, Moira Food­share and Op­por­tu­nity Shop man­ager Robin Har­wood and Jill Carr.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.