The month of May marks the start of the Vinnies Winter Appeal and this year the Society is aiming to raise over $300,000 to meet the increased demand for our services during the colder months.

According to the 2011 Census, 3,920 children in the ACT and NSW experience homelessness before their thirteenth birthday.

President of the Society in Canberra/Goulburn, Warwick Fulton says, “To most people the face of homelessness is a man who is sleeping rough in an alleyway in the city. The hard truth is that homelessness does not discriminate and it affects men, women and children across our community. Throughout the ACT and NSW there are 12,202 women facing homelessness. Most of these women have children and they aren’t necessarily sleeping rough on the streets. They are sleeping in their cars, motels, crisis refuges and on friends’ and family’s couches."

The St Vincent de Paul Society is asking the community to dig deep and donate to the 2016 Vinnies Winter Appeal to make a real difference to the lives of women and children in our local community. Funds raised through the Winter Appeal are used for home visitations and support programs such as Night Patrol, Blue Door, Clemente and St Nick’s Young Carers.

Since January the Society has provided over $150,000 worth of support in the ACT with 68% of this amount going towards food. By helping mothers to buy food the St Vincent de Paul Society enables them to save for the bond for a place to live, pay rent or even buy a heater to keep warm.

One of the families assisted by the Society is Sarah and her son David (names changed to protect privacy). At the beginning of this year Sarah left her partner of seven years who was emotionally and physically abusive. With the help of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Sarah now has a house to live in while she waits for priority housing through the ACT Government. Having a secure place to stay enables her to start rebuilding her life. “Vinnies has changed my life .. now that I have a roof over my head, I have my freedom back,ā€¯ Sarah explains, “coming [to Vinnies] is like safety.ā€¯

Donations can be made via www.vinnies.org.au/winterappeal.