Anglicare in financial stress has almost doubled. “Sixty-three per cent [of clients] are saying they are more anxious and down than usual, and 57 per cent are more disconnected from family and friends,” he says. Three quarters of people who lost employment or had hours cut as a result of the pandemic reported moderate or severe levels of psychological stress. The rep ort calls for governments to implement robust policies in a range of areas, “including more ambitious social housing targets, better protections for renters and action to contain and reduce levels of homelessness” – as well as improving mental health support and aid for victims of domestic violence.
Providing support: (L-R) Anglicare Sydney’s Teresa Clark with a volunteer, Sue King and Mike Sheedy.
PARISHES A KEY PART OF THE SOLUTION “Churches have an integral role “Older people are particularly support. “The church might not She says there are small signs to play in addressing issues of affected by the loss of physical be equipped to handle [particular that can indicate if a family is social isolation because of their contact with family,” Mr Sheedy issues], and that’s the point struggling. “If you’re looking at capacity to create and offer says. “Younger people are also where you can refer to agencies, the person next to you, you could social capital,” the report says. affected by social isolation at such as Anglicare, who have be looking for a long time before “Anglicare recognises the part times, and financial issues.” case workers who look after they give any sign that they to be played by local churches, He says churches can look food and financial assistance.” need support. But if you ask a b o t h i n p a r t ne rs h i p w i t h out for needs and offer support The third way churches can few deeper questions, that’s organisations such as Anglicare to people their congregations be part of the solution is by when you’ll start uncovering and in working on the ground in and in the community. “Engage identifying those who may need underlying issues like work local communities.” people in conversation, listen to help. hours being cut, people falling Parishes can not only continue the answers, and then continue T e r e s a C l a r k , h e a d o f behind on rent, etc.” to partner with Anglicare in to walk alongside people.” Anglicare’s food and financial C OVID-19 is providing areas such as the Mobile Food For those who might not be assistance arm, says many opportunities for churches to Pantry, but are also uniquely able to extend much support to people are reluctant to speak make fresh contact with their positioned to offer community others, Mr Sheedy recommends about their financial situation communities, offer practical help and provide opportunities for linking the person in need with and ask for help, which often with their life circumstances and socialisation to help combat the a pastoral worker or someone leads to more dire circumstances ultimately, bring the hope of the pandemic of loneliness. who is able to provide that by the time they do reach out. gospel – new life in Jesus. SC
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