Interest rate hike moves more people into mortgage stress: here is where to get support

Increasing interest rates and the rising cost of living are close to the minds of Western Australians already worn thin by the pandemic years. With the Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers saying that inflation “will get worse before it gets better,” times are about to get even harder.

There is no doubt, there is a rocky road ahead. Many people will find themselves looking for support for the first time and do not know where to start.

Yet, the earlier people seek help, the more options are available and the easier it is to stop problems from worsening. Here are some local resources to try If you, or a loved one, are experiencing difficulties.

Financial hardship

When people are having trouble paying their mortgage, they often neglect other bills, such as council and water rates and home insurance, to keep making the mortgage payment.

Whatever the reason, if you are falling behind with bills or feeling overwhelmed, this is the time to make an appointment with a financial counsellor.

  • There is free confidential financial counselling available for all. Visit the Financial Counselling Network’s site (financialcounsellingnetwork.org.au) to find a list of local financial counsellors with immediate availability (scroll down to the bottom of the home page for this list).  They have an impressive range of resources on their site – keep an eye out for a helpful article on how to survive the increasing costs of living. They have also recently launched a Financial Coaching program, which aims to build long term financial wellness and resilience.  Contact the FCN website for enquiries and eligibility.
  • Emergency Relief Assistance is available to support you if you:
  • Are wondering how to pay the rent
  • Are struggling to put food on the table
  • Are facing overdue bills

Contact the Emergency Relief and Food Access Service on 1800 979 777 from 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) to help you in identifying and applying for help

  • The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service (1800 007 007) that helps people in Australia tackle their debt problems and get their lives back on track.

Mental health

Ongoing uncertainty and financial pressures can impact mental health and there are increasing numbers of people reaching out for support.

A local Mental Health Support Resource makes it simpler to find mental health supports across the Local Government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville for all ages including young people. The resource brings together details of crisis lines, local free face to face services, vetted telephone and online supports, and contacts for community connectors.

How to sign up to the resource:

  1. Text Wellbeing4Me to 0488 884 151
  2. You will receive a link to the app and resource via a text message
  3. Tap the link to access
  4. If you do not already have the Access My Community app, you will be directed to your application app e.g., Google Play or App Store
  5. Once the Access My Community app is downloaded, open it to see the resource: Mental Health Support

Or visit https://imaginedfutures.org.au/mental-health-support-brochure/

Family and domestic violence

When people are experiencing financial stress the rates of family and domestic violence increases.

  • The Yourtoolkitcom website provides a free step-by-step guide on personal safety support services for people facing family and domestic violence. This resource was developed in consultation with women who have experienced family and domestic violence, support workers and industry professionals who understand the needs of women and families experiencing abuse.
  • 1800RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. Open 24 hours (1800 737 732) to support people experiencing at risk or impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

It’s complicated…

Often life challenges do not neatly fit into boxes.  It is not uncommon to be experiencing several concerns at the same time and be confused about which bit to address first.

There are community navigators in our local area who can talk through the best way to access help for your individual circumstances.

  • Fremantle and Rockingham Family Support Network

Funded by the state government through the Department of Communities this service links families into a range of support services.

P. 1300 951 190

  • Library Connect – City of Fremantle, Walyalup Civic Centre

A walk-in service run by St Pats at Fremantle Library for advice, referrals, and support.

Available: Tuesday & Thursday 1pm to 7pm

Wednesday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 2pm

  • PeerPathways

A service that has been set up to assist people find support for their mental and physical wellbeing. Trained peer navigators assist individuals, families, and Carers to navigate services across the State.  They can be reached on 08 9477 2809 or via their website www.peerpathways.org.au

Imagined Futures Annual Story 2021

The Imagined Futures partnership is pleased to present their Annual Story for 2021.

In launching the report Chair of the partnership and CEO of St Patrick’s Community Support Centre Michael Piu said:  “During a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continued to challenge the community, and in turn those providing support, I am particularly proud to note that these trying times served to galvanise the partnership even further.”

Over the course of 2021 more than 60 partners came together to respond quickly to coordinate efforts around issues such as “Tent City’ in Pioneer park and the Accelerating Aboriginal Vaccination Drive, while at the same time delivering its strategic collective impact projects through working groups.

“We are entering the 9th year since the Imagined Futures partnership was established.  Over this time, relationships have been cemented and trust developed.  It is hard to overstate the value of this foundation when working in a place-based way that seeks to deliver strong outcomes for our communities than what could ever be delivered separately” Mr Piu said.

To read the Annual Story click here

 

 

 

Joining Forces to Tackle Depression

A partnership of government, businesses, philanthropists and community service providers called the Imagined Futures Alliance Against Depression*, is spear-heading a local public awareness campaign designed to reduce stigma for people experiencing depression and encourage people to reach out for support.

With COVID-19 now at our doorstep many people are feeling anxious and uncertain about the future but are unsure where, or if, they should seek help.

“We’ve seen a spike in mental health issues in our communities. At the same time, we know the earlier people reach out for support, the easier it is for them to find relief,” Imagined Futures Executive Officer Leigh Sinclair said.

However, stigma and lack of awareness of mental health issues, and confusion about what supports are available, can stop people from reaching out for help and accessing treatments.

“If our campaign can help prompt people who are struggling to reach out for help and, if necessary, access treatment, the evidence tells us we will reduce suicide in our community” she said.

The focus is on raising awareness about depression because it is one of most common mental health conditions in Australia and is a contributing factor in almost half of all suicide deaths.

“We want to convey that depression can affect anyone, at any age, but can also be treated with the proper support”.

AFL Dockers player Alex Pearce, an ambassador for the Alliance, knows this all too well.

“From my own experience of depression, after reaching out for help, I now have the tools in place to maintain my mental health.”

The Alliance has developed a Mental Health Support Resource of free or low-cost services for people of all ages living in the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville to accompany the campaign.  The services, which range from crisis help to online, phone and face-to-face providers, can be used alone, or complement advice from GPs, and assist people who also might be on a waitlist to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.

The Alliance encourages everyone to get behind the campaign and is offering free campaign packs to businesses, services, clubs, workplaces, and community groups in the Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville areas.

 

To receive your free campaign pack, email ifaad@stpats.com.au call 08 6372 4873.

 

For more information about Imagined Futures AAD go to https://imaginedfutures.org.au/mental-health/alliance/

 

* The group’s work is informed by the grassroots Alliance Against Depression (AAD) framework to help combat suicide and depression in our community. Developed and tested in Europe, the AAD has been shown to reduce suicides and suicide-attempts by 24% over a two-year period.
Founded in 2014, Imagined Futures is a collective impact partnership auspiced by St Pat’s Community Support Centre. The partnership brings together human service agencies, businesses, philanthropists and community members to tackle complex social issues across the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville. www.imaginedfutures.org.au

Imagined Futures partnership delivers on mobile health care and emergency relief for Beaconsfield residents

Beaconsfield residents will soon have access to mobile medical care and emergency food relief among other social services, thanks to a new initiative from Imagined Futures.

Imagined Futures Executive Officer Leigh Sinclair said Freo Street Doctor, provided by Black Swan Health, and Red Cross vans would visit Davis Park located in central Beaconsfield once a fortnight from Friday next week, as part of the Imagined Futures partnership’s goal to connect residents in social housing to services.

Ms Sinclair said residents had reported experiencing complex challenges in the neighbourhood, which is made up of 97% social housing properties.

She said the Imagined Futures partnership recognised that no one organisation could resolve social issues facing sections of the community and brought together organisations across Fremantle, Cockburn and Melville to provide opportunities for residents to reach their full potential and engage more fully in all areas of life and living.

“The Street Doctor and Red Cross project from Imagined Futures is just one of the ways that the partnership is reaching out to the community in the Davis Park precinct,” Ms Sinclair said.

“We are delighted to begin offering Street Doctor and Red Cross services for residents, who often lack transport to reach these crucial services.”

Ms Sinclair said trial visits by the Street Doctor had already highlighted the need for effective mobile medical care in the precinct, after effectively saving the life of a much-loved father.

She said Davis Park resident Corey Brown sought assistance from the Street Doctor earlier this month, at his partner Angie Jenkins’ encouragement.

“Unbeknown to him, Mr Brown was suffering from an acute medical condition,” Ms Sinclair said.

“The Street Doctor on duty referred him immediately to the emergency ward at Fiona Stanley Hospital, who told Mr Brown he may not have survived the night had he not sought treatment that day.

“These are the types of cases that may have been missed were it not for this fantastic new project.”

Black Swan Health chief executive Terina Grace said she looked forward to working with Imagined Futures towards better health outcomes for Davis Park residents.

She said more than 90% of Freo Street Doctor clients relied on the service as their primary healthcare provider.

“The service aims to care for those members of our community who for many reasons may not access mainstream general practice,” Ms Grace said.

Chair of Imagined Futures and St Patrick’s Community Support Centre Chief Executive Officer Michael Piu, said he was delighted to see the establishment of this new initiative, particularly because it further complements other work occurring in the region including the St Patrick’s Doorstep Dinners program.

“St Pat’s is proud the Doorstep Dinner program has been so well received in the Davis Park precinct and having the Freo Street Doctor and Red Cross vans in the Park means that residents have access to an even greater range of services,” Mr PIu said.

The Freo Street Doctor will visit Davis Park in Beaconsfield once a fortnight between 11am to 2pm, from Friday 4 September. The service is available to anyone who is experiencing hardship and unable to access a mainstream GP.

Red Cross will also be on site to distribute food hampers.

Imagined Futures – Davis Park is provided by St Patrick’s Community Support Centre Inc and funded by the State Government through the Department of Communities.

 

Imagined Futures releases COVID-19 Response Plan

Imagined Futures recognises that tackling complex social issues  is beyond the capacity of any single organisation to resolve, and that the only way to effect large scale change is through working together and mobilising the resources available across the South West Metropolitan region to achieve common goals.

Since the pandemic began, the Imagined Futures Leadership Group has been meeting often to identify emerging issues, coordinate activities, and to look for opportunities to collaborate in a timely manner.  It soon became evident that there was a need to develop a plan to guide a coordinated whole-of-community response to mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 across our region. The Plan is informed by members’ reports on the impact of the pandemic on their clients, an environmental scan, and a planning session.

In these unprecedented times the partnership is keen to build on the established structure of Imagined Futures to the greatest possible effect.  This plan is premised on ensuring we remain connected to our community, continually monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our region, and, it positions us to maximise our collective resources in a place-based way.

A copy of the plan can be found here: Imagined Futures COVID-19 Response Plan

Together we’re helping everyone get through

NB: This is an excerpt of an article originally published in the Fremantle Herald on April 24, 2020. Read the full article here.

The Covid-19 pandemic has honed our collective attention on some of the most vulnerable people in our community. As often happens in times of crisis, the worst of times has brought out the best in us. Indeed we are witnessing a beautiful display of community spirit.

The challenges wrought by this pandemic have moved the dial on perceptions of people needing help. We have now moved from considering social disadvantage an abstract concept to one that is very much in the forefront of our minds. Over a very short period of time we have all become acutely aware that most of us are only ever a couple of steps away from being in the Centrelink queue, or needing help to feed our families. 

With this reality, comes an appreciation of the many people who have based their careers on assisting others: medical staff, police and community workers. These people are clearly the heroes of the moment, working tirelessly to get us through this. They are admirably rising to the challenge that this once in a generation crisis is heaping upon us.

We’ve had the opportunity to glimpse what can happen when we all come together – political and collective-will combining with the community agencies, business and philanthropy to deliver on supporting our community through an exceptional challenge.

… Read more here.

COVID-19 Update

In this time of heightened uncertainty the Imagined Futures (IF) team is concentrating on how we can continue to deliver our projects in a safe way. We’re also looking for opportunities for IF members to collaborate to maximise our support for people across the SW Metro region. 

Leadership Group

The Leadership Group is meeting every two weeks to enable them to be as responsive as possible in this fast changing environment. Points from the discussions include:

  • All agencies have adopted a range of methods to ensure continuity of access to services for clients. 
    • Many of these initiatives involve moving services online where possible, and/or telephoning clients.
    • Where physical service delivery is required, a range of measures have been employed to ensure physical distancing recommendations are met.
    • In some instances neither of the previous two approaches are appropriate and so services have been suspended while new models are developed.
  • Many agencies are putting in place systems to strategically and safely deploy large numbers of volunteers and/or redeploy staff who are not able to perform their usual functions. 
  • At this stage demand for services is hard to predict. For example, agencies have not noticed an increase in demand for Emergency Relief but the traffic to the online directory ERconnect has doubled in the last month.
  • One of the pressing challenges is connecting with people in need and ensuring they are aware of services that are available to them. A recurring concern is for people who do not have access to the Internet.

Members agreed that the magnitude of the challenges presented by COVID-19 makes the Imagined Futures partnership more important now than ever. 

Youth Initiative Working Group

Whilst on-campus programs are on hold, we have been working hard to support kids at home. We’re also working with schools on other ways to support the young people who access our programs.

At the end of last term Leah teamed up with Lakeland Senior High School to produce a hardcopy “At home workbook” as a take home resource to support students. The resource is freely available — please contact Leah at Lsumich@stpats.com.au if you would like one.

We are also using this time to compile a grants register to stay aware of available funding and application deadlines to help us be prepared for any potential new projects.

Simone Ryan announced in February that she is stepping down as Chair of the working group. Simone has been at the helm for four years. It is hard to overstate her contribution in terms of leading the group as well as her role in delivering the Keeping Kids Engaged Project. We are currently looking for a replacement. Please contact me if you are interested in the role.

Our next working group meeting is scheduled for the 15th of May and will be held via Zoom. We are conscious that it is quite some time since the last meeting. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Leah earlier if you have insight into emerging issues or ideas for collaboration to support young people at this time.

Davis Park Working Group

Physical distancing is challenging when your job is to connect with people! As such, Jill’s focus over the last couple of weeks has been ensuring that there are as many lines of communication between her and the Davis Park residents as possible. This has included:

  • Sending an introduction letter to all residents, letting them know that she is there to help and to contact her through email or phone.
  • Trialling a closed Facebook group as a digital noticeboard. 
  • Department of Communities housing officers will remind residents of our services when making contact.

We also used this opportunity to promote the City of Fremantle’s Neighbour to Neighbour program and the ERConnect online directory.

Unfortunately we have had to postpone our long awaited planning day. We’re still keen to go ahead with a planning session albeit in a physically distant way. Jill is working to secure the views of as many residents as she can and will also be contacting each of the working group members to gather their thoughts on the best way forward. We will then convene an online meeting to finalise our priorities.

Our next meeting is scheduled for the 5th of May via Zoom.