Thousands of people in immediate crisis have received a much-needed financial windfall with an $80,000 grant awarded to Southcare so we can continue our essential work of providing emergency relief. 

Southcare Chief Executive Officer Dr Nicky Howe said the funds will be used for to provide food vouchers, clothing and household goods, rent arrears and utility payments to those on low incomes who suffer social disadvantage and are in urgent need. 

“This funding means people will avert immediate crises like having their power or gas disconnected, a lack of food to feed their family and access to everyday essential items which many of us take for granted.  

“They will then be eligible for free financial counselling with our team so that together they can address the underlying issues that have led to the crisis and navigate a pathway towards greater independence,” Dr Howe said. 

The receipt of the funds, which has been provided by Lotterywest, comes at a time when the cost of living is sky-rocketing and the crippling effects of COVID-19 are still being felt. 

“Petrol has increased by 32.3%, vegetables by 6.1% and while unemployment has reduced, we are seeing many people on low incomes or those affected by COVID-19 requesting help,” Dr Howe said. 

“Casual workers or those with no leave entitlements, are forced to forgo their income for a week or more and suffer more disadvantage as they try to get back on their feet with bills and everyday living expenses. 

“The inequities are chronic and severe.  In 2021, people on low incomes were dying of COVID-19 at four times the rate of other groups,” Dr Howe said. 

Member for South Perth Geoff Baker MLA said the cash boost provides welcome relief for those residents who rely on some form of government welfare as their main income and at a time when requests for support were at record highs. 

“Everyone deserves the basic right to food, housing and transport, as well as professional advice to address systemic issues that, when solved, can provide greater freedom and self-worth to live a life of purpose,” Mr Baker said.  

“It is not uncommon for scores of people to be lined up for support at Southcare. This year, the team celebrates 40 years of helping people and so the $80,000 grant from Lotterywest means the celebrations twice as special.” 

Southcare’s emergency relief service is available every day, subject to staff and volunteer availability and no appointment is required.   

Last year Southcare helped 1,271 people with emergency relief and financial counselling services and first started its community care services in 1982.