by Michelle Fyfe, RAAFA CEO
Throughout my career I’ve had the privilege of working with selfless and passionate service people who have dedicated their lives to making our communities safer places to live.
Sadly, their self-sacrifice often goes overlooked in our society until it’s too late — as is now the case for our veterans.
What most people don’t know is that when veterans return from service, they face their biggest challenge yet, with veterans now three times more at risk of homelessness than everyday Australians.
But the battle doesn’t end there. Homelessness is just one challenge that some of our veterans bravely face. According to a recent report, suicide is now more prevalent with those experiencing homelessness than those who are not.
With most veterans at risk or experiencing homelessness not seeking help until it’s too late, what we’re witnessing in our community is a silent cry for help.
In response to these sobering figures and facts, our team at RAAFA developed the Western Australian Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL) program, which will see the development of purpose-built emergency veteran accommodation in our state.
This program was developed in 2022 in collaboration with Professor Kylie Russell, widow to the program’s namesake Sergeant Andrew Russell, who served in the Perth-based SAS Regiment. Its aim is to ensure our veterans receive the support they need and undoubtedly deserve when they return from service.
Upon completion, the ARVL program will see an accommodation site consisting of 16 purpose-built units and provide vital services to connect veteran residents with wellbeing and health services. These services will help support the four in five veterans reporting mental health conditions, including PTSD, while experiencing homelessness.
But, to make this program a reality, we need your help. We’re calling on all Western Australians to join forces with us to help end veteran homelessness.
This week we’ve launched the ARVL Appeal, which will help raise money to build ARVL’s emergency accommodation and deliver the services needed to support our veterans.
February 16, marks the anniversary of his tragic passing, please donate to the ARVL Appeal to help make this program a reality: https://dpgo.io/raafawa
On behalf of the veterans, we thank you for your support.