Supporting Anti-Poverty Week
Ensuring our community can access relief and support in the short-term crisis, particularly the most vulnerable people, is one of the key priorities in Fremantle Council’s COVID-19 Community Recovery Plan.
The City of Fremantle is supporting Anti-Poverty Week (11–17 October), which aims to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of poverty in Australia.
This year’s campaign centres around the key message: Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can do something about it.
In 2020, Anti-Poverty Week is partnering with the Everybody’s Home campaign to ensure secure and affordable homes for all and the Raise the Rate for Good campaign to secure a permanent increase in unemployment payments well above the poverty line.
According to the national organisations coordinating Anti-Poverty Week, these are the most effective solutions to reducing poverty in Australia.
City of Fremantle Community Development Manager Beverley Bone said the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in some hard-hitting impacts, including increased homelessness, exacerbated mental health concerns, drug and alcohol use and an increase in family and domestic violence.
“As stated in The Impact of COVID-19 on Families in Hardship in Western Australia research report, 49.4% of people were financially stressed in terms of paying for essentials in WA compared to 26.3% in an Australian general sample,” Ms Bone said.
“In other research, 150 people in Fremantle are experiencing chronic homelessness and a further 75 people are sleeping rough, according to By Name List Data.
“We know this pandemic has hit those already vulnerable harder than others, and the City of Fremantle is highly committed in helping those recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis though a number of initiatives.”
Earlier this month, the City teamed up with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre to support vulnerable people facing homelessness in a WA-first program.
The Library Connect program uses Fremantle Library as an intervention setting for identifying and supporting people experiencing homelessness, hardship and other disadvantages.
At the core of the program is a St Pat’s community support worker stationed at the library who will engage and connect with people right there and then, providing advice, referrals and support on the ground where it is needed.
Fremantle Library is also home to the Community Shelf, which is available for those who might be experiencing homelessness and hardship or anyone who needs a helping hand to access what they need.
Donations of non-perishable food, personal hygiene and sanitary items, socks, thongs, beanies or hats and baby/kids’ essentials are always needed and appreciated.
Lastly, the City also funds and manages the Fremantle Community Legal Centre, which provides legal services including general tenancy advocacy, family law and family domestic violence to low income members of the community.
A Family Violence lawyer, alongside the legal centre’s team, provides legal and non-legal services and support to assist women and children experiencing domestic violence, and to support women to access other services, including crisis accommodation, counselling and other support.
Visit the Anti-Poverty Week website for more information.