Listen: Vanessa Daniels chats about Wesley Mission’s work with people experiencing homelessness.
Throughout July, Hope 103.2 has partnered with Parramatta Mission and Wesley Mission to collect winter essentials for those in our city experiencing homelessness.
The foyer at the Hope studios in Seven Hills has been flowing over with donated goodies, many of which have already been passed on for those most in need.
But there’s still time to bring yours in! Donations will be accepted until 5pm on Friday, July 27. Items needed include thick socks, beanies, scarves, backpacks, reusable water bottles, raincoats, ponchos and blankets.
Vanessa Daniels, a senior program manager from Wesley Mission, who works particularly among single people experiencing homelessness, explained to Laura Bennett that backpacks and waterbottles are particularly helpful for those “sleeping rough” (on the street).
“A backpack is helpful for someone to carry their belongings, and can also be used as a pillow if someone is rough sleeping. Water bottles are important because [a person who is homeless] might not have the finance to buy water, so they can just fill a water bottle at the water fountain.”
Vanessa explained that Wesley not only helps people move into emergency and transitional accommodation, but also works with people who are at risk of homelessness to stay in a home, by helping them to manage their life better.
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“Our support extends beyond just simply a bed,” she said. “We want to be able to wrap support services around people as well. That might be our financial counsellors coming to chat with them, linking them into a local GP or counsellor in their area, or making sure their life skills or quality of life is to a standard they are comfortable with.”
Wesley Mission helps with basic skills such as cooking and computers, to help people become independent and get back on their feet.
Vanessa said one of the best parts of the job is seeing people change in their outlook on life.
“When people come and access our service they don’t have a lot of hope or are already quite discouraged or traumatised. So to see people rally together to support them is amazing,” she said.
Vanessa is keen to dispel the myth that homelessness is all about sleeping on park benches. In fact, those living on the streets only make up six per cent of all people experiencing homelessness. More than 108,000 are couch surfing, living in over-crowded dwellings, or sleeping in a caravan or unstable accommodation.
Wesley Mission supports almost 4000 people each year who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk, in Sydney, Newcastle and the North Coast.
For more details on supporting the Hope 103.2 Winter Woolies Campaign, head to the Winter Woolies info page.