HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Have you ever had the light turned off, throwing you into complete darkness not being able to see where you are and whether it is safe to take a step? Can you imagine the light not being turned back on? For many who encounter homelessness, there light turns into darkness with narrowing hope. Homelessness is typically defined as a person without a home, living on the street and is deemed a complex social issue. What the definition does not describe is the feeling of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, desolation and desperation. The impact it has on an individual’s mental health, emotional and physical wellbeing can be profound and life changing. There is a distressing increase of people that are becoming homeless who are without basic needs, sleeping rough in our cities. The reality is homelessness will never be eradicated, but help needs to be made available to support those who are vulnerable. What if you became homeless, where would you turn if you did not have the support of family or friends?
Skewie is a middle-aged man with four children and has been homeless for nearly four years. Skewie was part of the mining boom, but was one of many that lost his job with the down turn. He endeavored to find employment and keep a roof over his and his families head with stacking bills. The situation was then exacerbated when he discovered that his partner was having an affair. This unfortunately was the catalyst to Skewie spiraling into depression and leaving home where he would not look back. To date, his children are still unaware of his partners cheating and does not want his kids to see their mother in a negative light. He never planned a life to be away from his family, living on the streets. Skewie never turned to drugs and continues to sleep under the sky near Lake Monger. He has applied for housing, but to date this has not come to fruition. Skewie wants to get his life back on track but without shelter, employment and clean clothing the future still looks bleak. Homelessness does not just affect the middle aged, but the young and aged.
At his most vulnerable, Jonathan became homeless at 17 years of age. As Jonathan bravely stepped out into the streets with few personal belongings and ID, he spent his first night in the cold. When Jonathan woke up, all his personal belongings, ID and shoes had been stolen. Many parents could not even imagine not knowing the whereabouts of their child, but for Jonathan this was not the case. Barefoot and with the clothes on his back, he went to a local church to see if they could offer help. No one answered his knocks for help at the church, so he turned to Centrelink. Without ID Centrelink turned him away, sending him to the police station, leaving Jonathan with little hope. The police did not file a report and suggested he go home, which for Jonathan was not an option. His parents separated and for Jonathan he was not willing to return to a house with an abusive father. Jonathan had to earn money and find a way to support himself. He offered to provide labor to earn an honest day’s wage but instead, he was picked up and raped. He turned to drugs to keep warm and block out the emotional, mental and physical pain. Jonathan then met part of the team of the Fortuna Advisory Group.
Fortuna Advisory Group was established in 2011 by Dinesh Aggarwal as a conglomerate of companies, providing accounting, tax, finance, mortgage broking, legal and wealth management services in Australia. With a team of employees that are rich in culture from different socio-economic backgrounds, they wanted to find a way to make a difference together within the community. In 2016 Fortuna Foundation was established as the philanthropic arm of Fortuna Advisory Group with a vision “to inspire people to come together and help those less fortunate by standing beside them at time of poverty and sickness; and not give up until we have together made a difference”. Fortuna Foundation is a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Non-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) and is accorded the DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status by Australian Taxation Office.
Fortuna Advisory Group stand out from the crowd, they want everyone to feel valued and be empowered to deal with the future. To do this, they have set an example by working to bring people together. Without financial stability, it is difficult for people to transform their dreams into reality. The struggle of homelessness leads to desperation, hunger, sickness and often drug abuse to obliterate reality. Fortuna Foundation undertake projects to support public welfare, providing a life line of hope to a stranger on the street. These projects are aimed to create long term value propositions for people in need and can be done in collaboration with other organisations to alleviate poverty among children, the aged, veterans, disabled and the homeless. The Positive Spin project aims to cover the gap that currently exists in seventeen suburbs in Perth and surrounding areas, to provide free mobile laundry services to the homeless and disadvantaged. To get there first van on the road they are working hard to raise an estimated $60 000. So, what would this mean to someone who is homeless.
People like Jonathans hardship motivates Fortuna Foundation to pursue their work with relentless stamina. Despite the life choices Jonathan had made because of what he had gone through, the team at Fortuna Foundations could still see a spark inside him. He was given money to catch a train to attend a sausage sizzler at Bunnings Balcatta to help the team. Jonathan walked from Perth city to Balcatta and slept on the entrance of Fortuna Advisory Group to attend the fundraising sizzler, despite the poor weather. Not only did Jonathan keep his word, he was there half an hour earlier and kept the train money to buy food. It is not uncommon for personal belongings to be stolen, leaving people with no identification and access to Centrelink support. Would you walk a mile in someone’s shoes to experience even for one night what it may be like to be homeless?
Angelo Rossie from Ultimo Constructions did just that to raise funds for the Vinnies CEO sleepout. As property builders they understand that a house is not just somewhere to sleep, but a safe place to call home that is the heart of the family. It is impossible to hold down employment or have any form of quality of life, without a place to call home with access to amenities. Sleeping outside for the evening with minimal shelter in a sleeping bag, gave Angelo only a small insight into what it feels like to be homeless. It was a controlled environment with security and without this Angelo feels you would be trying to sleep with one eye open watching your personal belongings and safety. The experience taught him that you don’t need to be an alcoholic or drug addict. Everyday people that lose their employment can end up homeless as well as those running from domestic violence. Understanding what Vinnies do for the community and the amount of help they provide in one day was amazing. Ultimo Construction chose to participate in the CEO sleep out as they wanted to give something back to the community that reflects who they are as a business.
As human beings we are guilty of stereotyping, the stark reality is your mother, father, brother, colleague or even friend could become a victim to homelessness. Organisations like Vinnies and Fortuna Foundation, with projects like Positive Spin provide hope. Clean clothing and bedding form an essential part of human health, mental wellbeing and personal dignity. The mobile van will hold two self-contained washing machines and two clothes dryers, which will be powered by a generator. The vehicle will be driven to designated premises by volunteers on a rostered basis, which will be communicated through churches, local institutions and flyers.
This initiative is capable of taking people from being on the streets, to being employed and self-sufficient. People are judged at face value and if you go into an interview looking like you have slept on the street, you won’t have an opportunity to state your case. Mentally someone has already decided ‘NO’ and questioning dependability, punctuality and commitment. Personal hygiene, clean clothing and looking presentable is the first impression. Fortuna Foundation can't change the world in a day but hope their contribution goes a far way in exuding happiness, hygiene and humanity. Universal Electro Tech is proud to be a corporate sponsor for a fundraising event being held on Friday the 2nd of August to support 'Positive Spin’ by Fortuna Foundation.
We can all shine a light and help someone in need, your donation matters, no matter how small. To those less fortunate, a helping hand could mean life or death. We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. -Mother Teresa-. Universal Electro Tech and Universal Switchboards are happy to carry out pro-bono work to support foundations like ‘The Perth Homeless Support Group’, who help to make a difference to those less fortunate and homeless. Connect to a skilled team of Electricians that deliver quality electrical solutions to you and your business. We provide a reputable service to ensure we put a spark in your day. Electrical Solutions Designed and Delivered by Universal Electro Tech and Universal Switchboards. Contact our team on (08) 9328 9491 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.universalelectrotech.com.au/ or visit our premises at 105 Robinson Avenue, Belmont, WA 6104.
Fortuna Advisory Group
(08) 9240 4211
https://fortunafoundation.org.au – donate and help to get a mobile laundry van on the road to support the dignity and personal hygiene of the homeless.
(08) 9240 1006
Vinnies CEO Sleep Out
https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/about-ceo-sleepout - Sign up for 2010 and raise money for people experiencing homelessness