Advocates for homeless on the coast
A local charity on the South Coast is carving out new, practical and life-saving pathways through the housing crisis.
The Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast (SJASC) was established in 2011 by a few Catholic parishioners in Pambula out of a desire to help those in need.
Since June 2021, SJASC (a non-denominational and registered charity with full DGR tax status) has run the ‘It’s Up To Us’ campaign raising more than $241,000 to fund small transportable homes for crisis accommodation in the Bega Valley Shire.
Co-chairperson Mick Brosnan said the most challenging part of the operation had been finding suitable land in areas that needed it most.
Despite the challenges, SJASC has secured land in Pambula and Bega, and two homes have been set up. Five more are on the way to being installed by the end of the year.
“We work closely with the housing services in Bega; they allocate people to the homes,” Mick said. “Then people can live there for up to six months or until they find something more permanent.”
The campaign is still running, and the group hopes to house many more people this year and into next year.
Even though the housing crisis is spread all over Australia, the need for housing is great around the Bega Valley Shire due to the Tathra fires of 2018 and the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020.
SJASC has provided caravans for the homeless for more than 10 years and the program accelerated during fire periods.
‘It’s Up To Us’ is an extension of the original housing program which has delivered more than 75 caravans to fire victims over the past few years.
Mick thanks local volunteers who install the homes and help fit out the caravans, and donors who have made the projects possible.
SJASC operates in the Bega Valley Shire and fights for many social justice issues including indigenous affairs, refugees, the multicultural community and the climate crisis.
As Pope Francis said, “Like the Good Samaritan, may we not be ashamed of touching the wounds of those who suffer but try to heal them with concrete acts of love.”
To donate to the ‘It’s Up To Us’ campaign, bank details are SJASC Inc. ‘It’s Up To Us’ BSB: 633000 Acc: 151382090.
Congratulations everyone ! A fantastic practical much needed initiative. And in keeping with the ideals of Catholic Social Teaching.
And honouring the tradition of the Good Samaritan.