COMMENT PIECE 1 June 2010
‘HARDSHIP A PLENTY’ IN NORTHERN SUBURBS There is lots of hardship in the northern suburbs of Perth; I see it when I go to people’s homes after they call on the Society for assistance.
I recently visited a severely ill elderly lady who had contacted the Society for help with her utility bills. On the day I visited her, she was going into hospital to have an operation and was worried that without paying her electricity bill on time, she would not have any heating when she returned home from her stay.
This lady was clearly distraught and worried about her welfare, and being so ill, it was imperative for her to come home to a warm, comfortable house with adequate facilities.
Sadly this story is familiar with many more West Australians, and with winter upon us and the nights getting colder by the day, many people are living without power or heating facilities. Recently the St Vincent de Paul Society has seen increases in requests with utility bills especially. We experienced an 85% increase in the number of utility bill requests in March this year compared to March ‘09 followed by a 45.5% increase in April.
With households now having to find an additional $400 each year for the increased fees and charges on utility prices, it’s easy to see how the family’s budgets are stretched beyond control and more than ever, people who have never had to access welfare assistance before are now calling on our services for help.
I and 900 other Society members visit over 20,000 WA homes each year, offering food, clothing, bedding, household furniture and items, assistance with rent and utility bills and advocacy. June 1st marks the start of the winter season and we are asking all West Australians to spare a thought for the hundreds of families who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
Vinnies is urging the community to get behind the 2010 Winter Appeal to reach the target of $600,000 which goes directly back into helping West Australian’s in need.
To donate to the Winter Appeal call 13 18 12 or log on to www.vinnies.org.au
ClĂŠment Astruc State President & Ocean Reef Conference member
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