Urgently needed community support is starting to flow for the Fletcher Street Cottage homelessness service, but management says much more is needed to prevent cuts to its operations.
Earlier this month, The Echo reported that, without any ongoing government funding, the service was struggling to keep up with demand.
The Cottage, which comes under the auspices of the Byron Community Centre, has put out a call for community support.
In response, local op shop Global Ripple has stepped up, announcing that they will donate all of their proceeds from the entire month of August to the Cottage.
‘We want to encourage those who have unwanted items to get them into Global Ripple op shop ASAP, to help save Fletcher Street’, Global Ripple’s founder, Jacqui Boyette told The Echo.
Donations from the community are also beginning to flow, with one anonymous local giving $10,000.
‘It’s been great to see the community get behind Fletcher Street’, the General Manager of the Community Centre, Louise O’Connell said.
‘But we’ve still got a long way to go. We’re asking for $350,000 to help get us through the next few months, while we agitate to the government to provide some funding’.
Despite Byron having the highest number of rough sleepers of any local government area in the state, the Cottage does not receive any state or federal government funding. ‘Currently, we’re not eligible for any funding for our staff’, Ms O’Connell said.
‘It costs $1 million a year to run Fletcher Street, so we’re asking the government for five years worth of funding to provide some security for staff and for all of the people we’re helping’.
Ms O’Connell said demand for the service had increased significantly in recent weeks, with more families coming to the community breakfast or using the shower and laundry facilities.
The centre has set up a special women’s breakfast table for those who want to eat with other women. Children are also welcome at this table.
To donate, or support Fletcher Street Cottage, visit www.fletcherstreetcottage.com.au.
To make a larger donation, contact Kate Love on 0448 141 490 or [email protected].