What is Community Relief and Resilience?

Emergency Relief is the provision of financial or material assistance to people experiencing a financial crisis. Individuals or families may access emergency relief to help them through a ‘one-off’ episode; while for others, emergency relief becomes part of their experience of dealing with ongoing financial disadvantage. The aim of ER is to assist people experiencing financial crisis in a way that maintains dignity and fosters empowerment.

Assistance usually comprises:

  • The provision of financial or material aid to meet an immediate need – may include transport, chemist vouchers, assistance with paying bills, food vouchers, food parcels, clothing, or household goods.
  • Information and referrals that may help to resolve the underlying causes of a financial crisis.  

The Community Relief and Resilience Sector

Also known as Emergency Relief, the CRR sector consists of nearly 300 agencies and their outlets, providing material and financial assistance to people and families experiencing hardship and adversity across Western Australia. 

Funding for Community Relief and Resilience is diverse and includes both State and Federal Government Departments, other agency revenue, philanthropic sources, and public donations.

If you have questions regarding the Community Relief and Resilience sector, please contact CRR Coordinator, Ashleigh Gregory | [email protected]

WACOSS role and commitment

WACOSS is committed to supporting the CRR sector with policy, advocacy, and strategy, to enhance organisational capacity so that providers can continue to deliver services that are responsive to community need. 

The Community Relief and Resilience Program is generously funded by Lotterywest.

Tools and Resources

WACOSS have worked closely with the CRR sector to develop a range of tools and resources to enhance collaboration and support services to meet the needs of the individuals and families in the community. Many of the resources were developed following the Food Relief Framework consultations, where we spoke to more than 150 charity food providers and stakeholders across Western Australia.

CRR workshops

The Food Relief Framework identified workforce development needs via conversations with emergency relief and charity food providers across Western Australia. WACOSS responded to this need by developing a range of free short workshops on topics related to the frontline provision of community relief services in WA.

CRR Broadcast

The CRR Broadcast is a fortnightly digital newsletter that provides updates relating to the CRR network, WACOSS policy and advocacy, and national news. Subscribers may also receive Special Broadcasts when information is critical or urgent. Click below to subscribe to the CRR Broadcast mailing list.

Outcomes focus

The community service sector is increasingly using outcomes within service delivery. The CRR Program has several resources to assist providers to integrate outcomes within their assessment and referral processes. A shift towards outcomes-oriented service delivery will promote flexible services tailored to the needs and circumstances of consumers.

Developing a Program Logic

Support community service organisations to implement an outcomes focused logic into their program to enable improved population level outcomes. Lotterywest requires applicants to develop a logic model which identifies how the initiative will contribute to achieving the population level outcomes.

Implementing CRR Practice Principles

Consumers are the recipients of the provision of food relief. Consumers are also referred to as service users and clients as well as consumers. These terms are used interchangeably in this report. Consumers can refer to an individual, couple, family or household.

Consumer and Provider Charter

The Consumer and Provider Charter was co-designed with input from people accessing food relief services. It is aimed at addressing the stigma of the act of seeking, providing, and receiving food relief and embedding accountability into this relationship.

Monthly CRR Forum

About

The WACOSS CRR Forum meets on the first Wednesday of each month and is aimed at providing a space where agency representatives can:
  •  Share information on current and emerging trends in the sector
  • Network with providers, government services and funding bodies
  • Obtain information via guest speakers on topics relevant to ER
  • Identify issues through direct service provision provided by ER services
  • Keep informed of the work being done by WACOSS in the areas of policy and advocacy
  • Be updated on the delivery of essential utility services and the availability of utility assistance schemes

Attendance at the CRR Forum is open to:

  • Representatives from agencies that provide direct or indirect ER services
  • Other related services i.e. financial counseling, food relief organisations etc.
  • Funding bodies i.e. Lotterywest, DSS, DoC
  •  Other relevant State and Federal Departments i.e. DSS, DoH
If you would like to attend the CRR Forum as a member or guest presenter, please contact [email protected] for further information. 

Local and Regional Networks

We understand the need for community service organisations to promote their work and elevate their voices during these challenging times.  For that reason, we provide these professional services at competitive rates to enable more organisations to have access to them, while we strive to deliver high quality service and projects.

Sector Platforms

WAConnect

WAConnect is a directory of community service providers managed by the DropIN team at the Western Australian Council of Social Service. It contains real time search results of emergency relief services, with phone numbers, operating hours, and directions on the services available. WAConnect was originally called ERConnect. We changed our name to better reflect what we offer in mid 2020.

Users can search for food relief, financial counsellors, and emergency accommodation, among other services, and get a list of services that can provide assistance in the location that is convenient. WAConnect is a free directory for service providers, and people looking for assistance.

The continuous efforts of WACOSS and the DropIN team has led to WAConnect growing every year. Our aim is to provide a directory of emergency relief service providers in Western Australia that is the go-to for service providers and people seeking assistance. We want to connect people looking for assistance with a provider in their area in a seamless and easy way.

CORE

The Community Online Resource Exchange (CORE) enables the sharing of resources between the business and not for profit sectors. The portal was designed and developed by WACOSS Social enterprise DropIN Solutions, under the Food Relief Framework.

The CORE portal will assist businesses and charities to coordinate surplus product, items, and infrastructure at a local level, by listing items of scale for use of and distribution by community-based services and organisations.

CORE will assist you to match resources – for example, bulk food supplies, furniture, computers – with a charity that needs it.

As well as better coordinating and supporting the charity sector, CORE can lead to more standardised distribution of resources. The platform is a valuable tool when responding to climate emergencies or natural disasters, where the need for resources to rebuild and sustain is much higher than supply.

Other Relevant Groups & Committees

The State Emergency Relief Committee comprises parties in the the community sector who work alongside the community relief and resilience sector with policy, advocacy and strategy to improve the outcomes for those experiencing poverty and financial hardship in Western Australia.

The SERC convenes on a monthly basis. If you would like further information or are interested in becoming a committee member, please contact [email protected]

Fair Food WA is focused on connecting to secure healthy food for all West Australians, and is the key body that brings together relevant sectors – business, government, academia and not-for-profits, to ensure people don’t go hungry in Western Australia. 

It was established in 2017 to lead the development of a strategic framework in WA, which culminated in the Food Relief Framework and generated a range of other solutions-focused outcomes for the charity and food relief sector. Following the launch of the Framework report in 2019, the group commenced progress on the recommendations and subsequently rebranded to Fair Food WA.