A hand up, not a hand out

President St Vincent de Paul Mandurah Winston Rennick and Murdoch Hospital's Director of Mission Colin Keogh.

President St Vincent de Paul Mandurah Winston Rennick and Murdoch Hospital’s Director of Mission Colin Keogh.

St Vincent de Paul Mandurah, St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s Charity of the Year this year, is a well-known source of assistance for those in need of a helping hand in the Peel region.

The organisation provides advocacy, advice and referrals to their clients when they find themselves  bankrupt, being evicted, the victim of domestic violence or in other difficult situations.

President Winston Rennick said they have around 1,700 clients on their database with a wide range of issues, but homelessness is increasingly common.

“Around 300 people in Mandurah are sleeping rough on any given night,” said Mr Rennick.

“People are resorting to sleeping in their cars, under bridges and in parks – wherever they can find somewhere safe to spend the night.”

With up to 18 clients visiting each day, St Vincent de Paul is pushed to its limit in terms of capacity to provide their wide range of services.

“We are often stretched for money and goods to help people in their time of need,” said Mr Rennick. “The funds from Murdoch Hospital will help a great deal.”

“We have 17 part time volunteers and a paid financial counsellor who provide emergency relief counselling, act as advocates and refer clients to the appropriate organisation for help,” said Mr Rennick.

“Our soup kitchen often provides our clients with the only meal they will eat in the day and we offer food vouchers, parcels and emergency supplies when needed.”

St Vincent de Paul also has a truck that picks up donations of furniture and other household items.

Murdoch Hospital’s Director of Mission Colin Keogh said it is wonderful for the hospital to be able to help a charity that is so critical to its local area.

“St Vincent de Paul provides an enormous amount of support to the Mandurah area,” said Mr Keogh. “Without their expert advice and assistance, there are many people who would be in even worse situations, so we are looking forward to being able to contribute to their vital work.”

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