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Supporting asylum seekers on a critical deadline, co-design and getting the basics right

4 October 2017

Hi everyone,

Last week I invited you to take over my blog. I was in Geneva with Michael Legge, meeting with people from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

A big thanks to everyone who took the time to send in their stories. We chose a selection of stories from WA. Here's what three Red Cross staff had to share.

Matilda Martin, Private Tenancy Support Officer

The Red House Project

In the weeks leading up to Homelessness Week in Perth, my team (Private Tenancy, Youth and Family Support Services) and I took on the challenge of building a house! Well, the frame of a small house would be a more accurate description.

The house frame was painted red (of course!) and displayed in the Perth CBD on August 7th during Homelessness Week. Tied to the frame were quotes from people experiencing homelessness, people at risk of homelessness and people who now have a place to call home. Here's an example:

"I've been living on the streets since I was born, spent a few years in a foster home but my family live on the street and I wanted to be close to them. I'm 3rd generation homeless and no one has ever helped us to get a house. So I live on this street with my mum and grandmother. People will never know what its (sic) really like to be homeless unless you have been homeless. People take for granted the basics like staying out the rain or access to toilet. Remember you can't just sleep in a doorway as you would be asked to move by police or given a move on order."

The aim of the project was to raise awareness of homelessness and the experiences of those who are sleeping rough. The house attracted a lot of attention with members of the public writing down their own thoughts and tying them to the frame.

Senior Manager Community Services, Marina Zafiris, and Manager Private Tenancy, Youth and Family Support Services, Daisy Ashworth, spent some time walking through the CBD providing essentials packs to people who were sleeping rough. Find out how else Red Cross helps those facing homelessness around the country.

Barbara Hollin, Senior Manager Community Services

Spotlight on Kalgoorlie's Soup Patrol

I've recently been delving into the soup patrol service in Kalgoorlie-Boulder (in the Goldfields region in WA) which has been running since 1998.

The service is delivered by volunteers who provide a hot evening meal of bread and soup (and occasionally fruit) to some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in the region. It operates three evenings a week (Friday to Sunday), filling a gap in local service availability.

Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital provides all the soup for the service each year, as well as iced water, which is much needed by clients, particularly during the hot summer months. A local bakery and grocery shop donate bread.

In the last financial year, 8,541 hot nutritious meals were served. Volunteers gave 335 hours of service to deliver these meals with the youngest being 11 and the oldest, 66 years old. 95% of clients were Aboriginal people and 26% were children.

Our longest serving volunteer with this service is Andrew Smith.

Andrew not only donates his time, but also donates money on behalf of his drilling company. He has contributed by providing fruit, high-visibility vests for volunteers, equipment and recruitment and training of volunteers.

For many years, Andrew has also been an Emergency Services volunteer and he established and maintains the aquaponics system at our Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility in Boulder. Andrew is a much respected member of the community and an invaluable Red Cross volunteer.


Ada Hanson, Community Development Officer

My fan-girl moment

A few weeks ago, Illy (famous Australian rap/hip hop artist) came out to Kalgoorlie-Boulder for a show and when one of his support acts, Ziggy Ramo, put up a photo on Instagram, I commented suggesting he might like to meet some of the local kids. He instantly replied 'yes', so I organised a community BBQ down at a place called Maku Stadium.

As a surprise, Illy jumped in the car and came down as well! I had a full fan-girl moment! It was a GREAT day. Illy, Ziggy and their crew played basketball, table tennis, had running races, and then chilled out over a sausage sizzle lunch.

Illy with me (Ada), Ziggy and local Kalgoorlie-Boulder girls, Eden and Tahni

Illy's photographer and Ziggy Ramo playing basketball with two of the local girls

What's coming up this week?

  • It's National Child Protection Week and we're putting a spotlight on the ways our programs help children to be the best they can be.
  • Our Strategy2020 sessions continue this week, find the calendar of events here.

Thanks again to those who contributed their stories. I look forward to opening the blog up for another takeover in future.