Over the past two years, calls for assistance to UnitingSA’s homelessness and emergency relief services have increased by almost 60 per cent.

As one of South Australia’s leading not-for-profits working in the homelessness space, the organisation is bracing for a further increase in demand this winter as the cost of living, housing and energy bill crisis continues.

UnitingSA CEO Jenny Hall is calling on South Australians to give what they can to support the 2024 winter and EOFY appeal being launched today.

“For a lot of us, winter means more time indoors with family and friends, putting an extra blanket on the bed, turning the heating up and enjoying a warm meal,’’ Ms Hall said.

“But for the nearly 10,000 South Australians who don’t have access to these everyday needs – secure shelter, food and warm clothing – the colder months are long, bleak and tough.’’

Ms Hall said UnitingSA’s emergency relief teams were increasingly hearing from people who have never before asked for assistance.

“We are seeing more and more everyday people – parents with jobs, older single women with a rental or mortgage to service, who are finding themselves just a step or two away from crisis. Our teams are working harder than ever to hold back the threat of homelessness for families and individuals,’’ Ms Hall said.

“For many, there are heartbreaking choices to be made – pay a power bill or take a child to a medical appointment; keep up with rental payments or repair the family car; buy new school shoes for the kids or keep the house warm.

“Unable to keep up with these demands, more families and individuals than ever are falling into homelessness – living in their cars, sleeping on a friend’s couch or camping in a public park.’’

The campaign for this year’s UnitingSA Winter Appeal centres on a young family living in their car. They use a public park’s barbecue facilities for their nightly meal. They have made their car a safe haven from which their young daughter goes to school each day, dad goes to his job and mum to her pre-natal appointments.

They have found themselves in this situation through no fault of their own. High interest rates, increasing energy costs, an unexpected illness and a reduction in mum’s work hours have combined to see them lose their home.

This is not an imaginary scenario. It’s something that is played out each day in communities around the state.

Donations to this year’s UnitingSA appeal will give individuals and families in crisis a sense of hope and help them get back on their feet.

We are urgently seeking financial support to give us the ability to target support where it is most needed including assistance with bill relief.

As always, we do appreciate in-kind donations of canned food, unused warm bedding, winter clothing, tents and sleeping bags as part of our annual winter appeal.

Ways your financial donation can help this year:

  • $10 – hot meal for a rough sleeper
  • $50 – cover a vital medical appointment
  • $100 – provide a rough sleeper with basic necessities
  • $180 – pay for an average SA family’s weekly groceries
  • $250 – contribute to a family’s quarterly power bill
  • $1000 – assist a family to pay two weeks’ rent in advance (bond) to secure housing

Let’s not leave anyone out in the cold this winter. Please give some Hope Sweet Hope in the form of a tax-deductible donation before 30 June 2024 and help everyday South Australians with everyday needs.

Media contact: Catherine Bauer 0478 855 367