Queensland Government media release

A Hervey Bay homelessness organisation has bought a new van with a funding boost from the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First fund, established to encourage innovative projects that will help people experiencing homelessness to live with dignity.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said We Care 2 received $35,000 for the project, one of 24 projects across the State that were funded from the $2.5 million Dignity First Fund.

“The motto of We Care 2 is ‘together we can’, and this is a great example of how the Palaszczuk Government is working together with community organisations to deliver vital services to people who most need it,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We Care 2 expect to have their purpose-designed van on the road by the end of the month, so their dedicated volunteers can get out there and serve hot breakfasts to people experiencing homelessness.”

We Care 2 Operations Manager Jan Carlson said the new van would streamline operations for their team of 25 volunteers, and potentially double their capacity to serve meals to people experiencing homelessness on the Fraser Coast.

“Like any coastal area, homelessness is a significant problem here, so we provide a range of food and referral services,” Ms Carlson said.

“As soon as I saw the Dignity First Fund open, I knew it was a match for us because that’s how we approach everything we do – it’s about supporting people’s dignity.

“The people we serve are homeless, not through any fault of their own, and as we get to know them we can help refer them to other services to assist longer term.

“There’s a definite demand out there for what we do – we wish there wasn’t, but at least we can help with some of those more immediate needs.”

Mr de Brenni said the Dignity First Fund was established to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.

 “Homelessness is a complex issue which requires a sophisticated response,” Mr de Brenni said.

“But while we work toward longer term solutions, there are many wonderful community organisations like We Care 2 who are helping people to live with dignity.

“It is also an opportunity for us to show these vulnerable members of our community that they have not been forgotten and that we are working to help them out of this situation.”

Applications for the second round of Dignity First Fund funding, which is also offering a total of $2.5 million, will open on 15 March 2017.

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