• Sarah Murdock, Acting Executive Officer

Advocacy, support and care make a difference

Sometimes, you can feel so overwhelmed with the amount of need and the complexities that our clients face, you ask yourself, “Where do I start?” But when a client returns with a teary smile and a hug and thanks you for the support, information, assistance and care they received, you know you have made a difference.

Last week, we met a woman who was in desperate need. She had nowhere to turn and didn’t know where to start looking. Claire (not her real name) met with Centrelink who suggested that she go to St John’s Care. She came but was unsure of what to expect.

Claire met with one of our volunteers and he realised that there was more to her story because she was upset. He asked Therese, our Community Worker, to meet with her and Claire explained that she was homeless with two girls.

We sent through urgent referrals to OneLink (Homeless Services Gateway) and Domestic Violence Crisis Service and spent time to listening to her story.

Claire was from Pakistan and had escaped the Taliban. She arrived in Australia via a humanitarian process. Once here, she found herself in a violent domestic relationship and had to flee for her safety and that of her children. Claire explained to Therese that she has worked for the United Nations and has a Master’s Degree in Economics as well as a Social Science Degree.

On Tuesday, she came back into the Centre with the biggest smile and an abundance of gratitude. Why? Because, Onelink had been able to house her and she had connected with other services for ongoing assistance.

Claire said that St John’s Care had been there to advocate, support and assist her to navigate the system. With secure and safe housing and community networks she and her daughters will now thrive and go on to make a great contribution to their new country.

The month has just started and SJC has supported and assisted approximately 85 people with food, finance and moral support. Like Claire, the Centre has also provided people with advocacy and information to assist them in improving their current situations.

We would like to thank ABC Radio Canberra for their recent plugs for SJC and all those who responded to the request to support the Centre. We received some beautiful fresh produce as a result which was enjoyed by our clients.

Wish list: One litre full cream long life milk, honey, cooking oil, flour, small fruit lunchbox snacks.

Sarah Murdoch

A/Executive Officer

#homeless #Centrelink #accommodation #housing

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