Funds crisis hits home

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Just Home Margaret River’s Craig Mathieson, Naomi Godden, Stu Karrick, Shelagh Benson and Shelly Cullen.
Camera IconJust Home Margaret River’s Craig Mathieson, Naomi Godden, Stu Karrick, Shelagh Benson and Shelly Cullen.

Local housing advocacy group Just Home says it’s in danger of folding without a major funds injection.

The group is seeking $150,000 from philanthropic donors to continue its work countering the economic fallout from COVID-19.

In a statement this week, Just Home, which is chaired by Shire of Augusta-Margaret River Cr Naomi Godden, pointed to the region’s high uptake of JobKeeper and estimated losses of anywhere from 2500-3000 jobs.

“This means that homelessness and housing stress will continue to intensify in our community, especially when government income support programs wind down,” the group said.

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Just Home was one of the first local groups to secure funding from the Shire’s community care fund, receiving about $113,000 from Shire reserves estimated to cover three months increased service. The money was a big cash injection on top of the annual ratepayer support for the group, which employs a part-time officer to guide residents needing secure housing.

Just Home said the funding expired at the end of this month and $150,000 more was needed for staff wages and emergency housing help for 2020-21.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on Just Home Margaret River, and we are busier than ever supporting our community to access secure housing,” the statement said.

“We are determined to make sure that community members experiencing homelessness have safe, secure accommodation.

“We want all people experiencing family and domestic violence to be safe if they cannot remain at home. And community members who lose their jobs or income are at high risk of homelessness without a secure wage.”

Just Home helps 10 new clients a week at present, with 120 families helped recently.

Donors are being sought to fill the funding gap as the group continues working on extra funding applications.

It remained unclear whether the Shire would be petitioned for extra money. Earlier this year, Cr Godden called for development of more social housing in the wake of COVID-19.

This week, Greens MLC Diane Evers said the WA Government’s Social Housing Economic Recovery package did not go far enough to address long regional wait lists for accommodation.

Just Home donors would go into the running for one of two twin packs of Cullen Wines.

Contact chair@justhome.org. au to make a donation, or to volunteer, contact volunteer@just home.org.au.

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