The negative effects of rising cost of living, inflation and interest rate rises, the current rental crisis and housing stress are all very real issues in our community.
At Parramatta Mission we see the number of people in need growing each day. We open our doors Monday to Friday to individuals as well as families from all walks of life who may be facing crisis or hardship in regards to housing, food, mental and physical health, and other necessities required on a day-to-day basis. For many of these people this is the first time they have had to ask for assistance.
Parramatta Mission has been dedicated to assisting the most disadvantaged in our community for over 50 years. Meals Plus is our Community Centre, located in the heart of Parramatta, where people who who may be experiencing homelessness, facing crisis, living with mental health issues or struggling with isolation and disadvantage can find assistance. The service is open during the day and provides breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday. Throughout the week, approximately 250 meals are served each day to those in need. We provide food parcels, hygiene care products and other essentials, as well as additional onsite services including clothing washing facilities and showers. We also provide onsite case workers and additional support through our consortium of services and community hub days. These includes the likes of housing services, Centrelink, Service NSW, financial aid, legal aid, assistance with bills and a variety of physical and mental health services. We are looking to expand these to include education for employment and living skills, language and wellbeing. BUT Meals Plus receives no government funding, and relies on donations to keep our doors open.
Quick Facts – Cost of Living *
- The cost of living measures how much money it takes to buy necessary items.
- COVID-19, climate change, and global supply chain issues have each driven up the cost of living in Australia.
- Housing costs, groceries, and transportation are 2023’s biggest expenses.
Referral searches by Lifeline’s helpline counsellors specifically relating to financial issues and homelessness also went up 49 per cent between August 2022 and January 2023. Lifeline Australia chief executive Colin Seery said the surge in people needing support could be linked to Australia’s climbing cost of living. “Many of these centres are reporting a significant increase in demand for financial support, including food distribution. We are seeing this happen right now, all across the country,” Mr Seery said. **
More funding is needed for services like Meals Plus. “We… know that homelessness services could be better funded and could do more if they were better funded. It’s not that the services are ineffective or inefficient — it’s simply that the scale of investment is not enough to really address the wider issues,” ***
How can you help?
By adding you name to our list we can advocate to our government to provide relief for those who are struggling as a result of economic decisions. We need action now, before more and more people find themselves with no home and no hope.
The voice of the community can together bring about the change we need.
*** Dr Michael Fotheringham from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute