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Cash-strapped Anglicare still making a difference

By EMMA CORNFORD

ANGLICARE'S Clarence Valley Crisis Accommodation Brokerage performed 241 acts of service during February.

Those 'acts of service' ranged from simple information distribution to helping people in need with financial assistance.

Twenty-three acts helped people who were homeless, including assisting people to find emergency accommodation.

But like many services around the country, the or- ganisation is so cashstrapped it yesterday ran out of the funds earmarked to spend in March. So for the rest of the month, all it can do is provide information to those who need it.

Jim, co-ordinator of the brokerage, said homelessness in the Clarence Valley was a growing problem.

"As the region grows, funds just aren't there to assist people as much as we'd like to (and) certainly at a local level we're struggling to provide for all the people who need us in the Clarence Valley."

He said there were a number of programs to help people with their accommodation including bond and rental assistance and food vouchers, but a lack of funding was hindering the efforts of Anglicare and similar organisations.

"The big thing is that we can help with getting accommodation for the short-term, but after that runs out the people are often still in a crisis situation. A lot of that comes down to funding.

"They put up the funding according to the CPI but that's it. They don't take into account the population growth of any area."

The rising cost of housing and resulting increase in rents is another reason more and more people in the Valley are becoming homeless.

"Ideally we would like to help everyone for one or two weeks and help them get accommodation but with funding in a lot of cases it's just not possible.

"It would be lovely if we could wipe homelessness out but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon."



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