• Jason Haines, SJC Programs Manager

Rough sleepers need respite from heat

This heatwave is almost unbelievable. We have had so many rough sleepers coming into St John’s Care to get out of the heat for a while. One client was so badly dehydrated that we supported him and assisted him in gaining medical assistance.

Here is some good advice to pass on:

The ACT Ambulance Service urges Canberrans to be ready for the high temperatures by knowing how to avoid heat-related stress with these simple steps:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water;

  • Plan your day around the heat and try to avoid being outdoors between 11 am and 3 pm;

  • Check on others, especially the elderly, young children and babies, pregnant women and those with medical conditions;

  • Do not leave pets or children unattended in hot cars; and

  • Stay indoors and make use of fans and air conditioners.

Signs for heat stress can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, weakness, headaches and if sweating stops. Call Emergency Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance if you or someone else is showing signs of heat stress.

Last week we had a family of six who were in crisis. They had returned to Canberra after living in South Australia for the last two years. They are now basically homeless and are staying with a friend.

However, this means that there are twelve people living in a small two-bedroom flat. They wanted us to pay for their rent until they obtain an ACT housing home.

As most of you are aware we are not in a position to cover ongoing housing costs, but we are happy to give clients a support letter to ACT Housing with their application. Currently this family is not eligible for ACT Housing as they have not lived in the ACT for six months.

This means they must wait another three months before they can apply. We will continue to work with this family and advocate on their behalf. Unfortunately this story and others similar stories are common conversations at the Centre.

In addition, their children will start a new school in February and they are also worried about school expenses.

Fortunately, we were able to give the family food, school supplies and referrals to other agencies that can help them.

Wish list: Back to school supplies such as stationery, pens, highlighters, pencil cases, drink bottles, lunch boxes, hats and sun screen.

Jason Haines

Programs Manager

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