Richard was just like any other family man. Happily married with two young daughters, Emma and Hayley, Richard was working five days a week when tragedy struck. His wife died, leaving him widowed and raising his girls alone. Then he suffered a work place injury and had to face a future without any stable income.
To make matters worse, he lost his home and was forced to sleep rough in a shipping container and sometimes in local parks. Without any family or friends, Richard and his two daughters were close to breaking point.
Homelessness can happen to anyone. It is something Angela Goodwin – Share’s Director of Operations and Development – knows is rife throughout Victoria.
Ms Goodwin says Share’s annual Winter Appeal provides emergency relief such as food, clothing and accommodation to people who have fallen on hard times.
Over the last two years the number of homeless people seeking help from UnitingCare Harrison has risen by 48 per cent due to the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing.
“Donations to Share have never mattered more,” Ms Goodwin said.
“Without donor contributions and support, people will miss out on accessing emergency relief programs. Providers will be forced to shut their doors and leave clients without somewhere to turn to in times of need.
“The Winter Appeal gives people the opportunity to help ensure this doesn’t happen.”
More than 20 UnitingCare agencies receive funding directly from the appeal in a bid to help clients before they reach crisis point.
“Hundreds of families and single people on limited incomes sometimes are in a position where they have to decide whether to pay their rent and bills or buy food,” Ms Goodwin said.
Agencies requested just under $1 million to continue to provide vital services – double the amount distributed last year.
Thanks to your generous donations, Share raised $420,000.
“Share is always astounded at the amount of good will out there in our communities,” Ms Goodwin said.
“The smallest of donations you donate go such a long way to helping those who can’t make ends meet due to their financial circumstances.
“The agencies are always very appreciative of the Share funding, often saying that without it, they couldn’t do what they do every day for vulnerable people in our communities.”