Ringing endorsement of the need for homeless help

One of the group of presentations at Club Sapphire which included the Social Justice Advocates.
One of the group of presentations at Club Sapphire which included the Social Justice Advocates.

The large assembled group of community group members were hushed in expectation as the announcements of the Club Grants at Club Sapphire had just started.

Suddenly the quiet and the sound of the presenter's voice was broken by the ring of a mobile phone.

But this was no ordinary phone or ordinary call; it was a cry for help.

Mick Brosnan of the Social Justice Advocates calls it the "Bat Phone" and it's always on. The reason the SJA was at the Club Grants presentation and the call at that moment were events that were interwoven.

The call was about a homeless person desperately looking for shelter and immediately after the announcements and the happy discovery that the SJA had received $10,000 for its homelessness projects, Mr Brosnan was on his way to the St James crisis shelter.

The $10,000 grant will go towards the $60,000 cost of two secondhand caravans which have toilets and showers.

"We were going to buy a second home unit but instead we're going for two very good self-contained caravans which will allow us to house two families instead of one," Mr Brosnan said.

The demand is there; the longer we have people in a unit the more successful it is.

Mick Brosnan Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast

"Cabins are too expensive; they're more dignified but we have to be pragmatic," he added.

The SJA is supported by three caravan parks and has seven caravans but they are getting "fairly tired" Mr Brosnan said.

The SJA meeting in July gave them the go ahead to buy the two self-contained caravans and combined with previous fundraising, the Club Grant and money from the Samaritan Op Shop they expect to have the caravans fairly soon.

The group works on a three step basis with very short-term crisis accommodation at St James House, followed by a longer stay in a caravan and then the longest stay in a cabin or tiny house. The longer stays provide a chance for stability in a person's life and a chance to work out how to progress with the support of local services.

"The demand is there; the longer we have people in a unit the more successful it is.

"Service providers can achieve more if people are with us longer," Mr Brosnan said as he rushed off to answer the latest call for help.

Anyone interested in donating, volunteering or being part of the Social Justice Advocates can phone Mick Brosnan on 0410 697 229 or reach out to the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast through Facebook.

Comments