Yesterday, over 2000 homeless and disadvantaged people gathered in Russell Square, Northbridge for Perth’s Homeless Connect which provided them with free food, clothes, services and pampering.
The annual event, now in its tenth year and run by Volunteering WA, in conjunction with the City of Perth, invited guests to use over 80 free services such as optometrists, hairdressers, vets, dentists, massage therapists, showers, GP, financial counselling and sport activities.
Guests were also invited to stock up on items such as food, clothes and shoes at a free Shop Facility and enjoy a wholesome two-course lunch. One of the most popular services was the Births, Deaths and Marriages booth where people could get help with obtaining personal documentation.
Many of the guests return each year and this event is a much needed service for them.
The event, which is based on a one-stop shop model of immediate service provision to homeless people, is a huge undertaking involving hundreds of volunteers, supporters, donors and a project team. Many of the volunteers are deeply concerned about homelessness in Perth and return to help at the event year after year.
For months prior to the event, Volunteering WA operated a warehouse in Welshpool which accepted thousands of donation boxes filled with clothes, non-perishable food, shoes and toiletries to use for the day. Volunteers helped to sort, label and organise the items.
CEO Volunteering WA said, ‘On any given night, approximately 9600 people are homeless in Western Australia. Homelessness cannot be solved in one day, but events like this allow people to become reconnected into the community. It was a privilege to be involved and volunteers and guests all left with a big smile on their faces.’
If you would like to find out more information about volunteering or how you can be involved next year you can visit the Volunteering WA website: http://www.volunteeringwa.org.au