Table of Contents

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.

CRR 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 Forum

The WACOSS CRR Forum meets on the first Wednesday of each month. The Forum Terms of Reference provide further details regarding the scope and attendees. If you would like to attend the CRR Forum as a member or guest presenter, please contact [email protected]

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.

CRR workshops

The FRF 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 CRR services in WA.

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. 

A free training workshop is also available to assist providers to implement outcomes in their practice. See ‘CRR Workshops‘ for further details. 

Download the resource. 

In our society, being able to obtain food in socially acceptable ways is regarded as a human right found under international law (Article 25.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

Consumers want consistency in how they are treated and expected to respond to, service providers. In the Food Relief Framework consultations, consumers expressed a strong desire for nutritious food and meals sourced or eaten under socially acceptable circumstances. They were unanimous in also saying that food services need to be inclusive and shared equally, and that even those making unhealthy lifestyle choices (for example through drug or alcohol addiction) are worthy of healthy food.

Within this context, the Consumer and Provider Charter was co-designed with input from people accessing food relief services, who are experts by experience. There is a need to empower both providers and consumers to enhance the appropriateness and effectiveness of food relief. Both need to have a shared understanding of what to expect from a service provider or consumer when accessing and distributing food relief. At its core, the Charter is aimed at addressing the stigma of the act of seeking, providing, and receiving food relief. It is also aimed at embedding accountability into this relationship. This has the potential to translate into more accepting and supportive communities, proactively involved in countering the social isolation caused by poverty.

There are opportunities and mechanisms available to support the widespread adoption of this Charter. This can include, for example, the Charter built into service contracts, local services encouraged to display the Charter, and so on.

Download the consumer and provider charter.

Consumers are the recipients of the provision of food relief. Consumers are also referred to as service users and clients. Consumers may include an individual, couple, family, or household.

In partnership with providers and consumers, we identified what good practice for services looks like. We designed a set of attributes that consumers can expect across service provision. A set of collectively identified good practice principles emerged during the engagement with providers around the state. These principles were further tested and formulated as they were refined with sector stakeholders. The product is a codesigned baseline of what constitutes good practice. These principles connect with the expectations outlined in the Consumer and Provider Charter.

Download a copy of the practice principles. 

Food insecurity is responsible for a growing social, health and economic burden in Australia, largely driven by poverty and inadequate income and/or financial hardship.

Lotterywest funded the Western Australian Council of Social Service to auspice the Food Relief Framework Project in 2017. The need for a framework came from the community sector after it was recognised that improvements to the service system can be made to better respond to need. 

The food relief sector collaborated to map the issue and identify solutions to address gaps in the State’s food security system. A Working Group was established and extensive stakeholder and community consultation across regional and metropolitan areas was undertaken, engaging service providers, government, consumer groups, and the corporate sector. 

The culmination of this work is a Framework that can and will be adapted to address food insecurity in Western Australia, and can be used across the country, and in many jurisdictions to identify and map gaps, so that people can be food secure. 

Read more and download the Framework.

Several utility assistance schemes exist for people having difficulty paying their electricity, gas, and water bills in Western Australia. These schemes can be accessed via an Emergency Relief Agency or a Financial Counselling service. The following provides an overview of how the Synergy and Horizon Power Assist schemes work and guidelines on how to assist utility customers with their applications. The relevant forms are available for download via the links below.

Synergy Power Assist – The Synergy Power Assist Scheme is run for two days every month throughout the financial year. The purpose of the program is to prevent the disconnection of electricity supplies to Synergy customers who are experiencing financial hardship and difficulties in meeting their electricity payments.

Synergy Power Assist Form 2022 available here

Horizon Power Assist – The Horizon Power Assist Scheme can be applied for at any time and applications are processed at the end of each month.

Horizon Power Assist Form 2022/23 Financial Year available here.

The Australian Privacy Legislation prevents agencies from sharing client details and requesting information outside the ‘need to know’ principle. To address this, interagency networks have developed consent to share resources that enable information sharing across shared clients – these resources can be used at any time to contribute towards a seamless multi-agency response.   

The following examples and template will assist both CRR workers and consumers of services to understand the privacy principles and what information can be shared when we coordinate across service delivery.

•    Shared consent form – example
•    Guidelines for using the consent form – example
•    Consent form template

Local and Regional Networks

Many districts across metropolitan and regional Western Australia have established interagency networks focused on coordinating responses to issues of poverty and inequality at the local level. There are many benefits to establishing a shared response across the community.  

If you are interested in establishing a network or would like further information or support, please contact [email protected]

Geographical area: Shire of Albany

Agencies: Prospect House, Palmerston, Regional Counselling and Mentoring Services, Anglicare WA, The Salvation Army, St John’s Emergency Relief, Foodbank, St Vincent de Paul, Community First, Partners in Recovery, ACF, Albany Youth Support Association

Meetings: Bi-monthly: March, May, July, September, November

Contact: Rod Pfeiffer, Branch Manager at Foodbank Albany – [email protected] 

Geographical area: Bunbury

Agencies: Intown Centre, Relationships Australia, Anglicare, APM, Cahoots, Outcare, Department of Communities, APU, YouthCare, Advocacy WA and Wanslea

Services: Financial Counselling, emergency relief, utility assistance, disability and employment support and advocacy.

Contact: Leanne Gibbs, Manager Intown Centre – [email protected]

Geographical area: West Kimberley

Agencies: Broome CIRCLE, Australian Red Cross (Broome), Centacare, Men’s Outreach Service, Feed the Little Children, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Marnja Jarndu

Services: Information sharing, coordination of services, joint advocacy.

Meetings: Monthly – First Friday of the month beginning at 8:30 am

Contact: [email protected]

CURRENTLY INACTIVE

Geographical area: Geographical area: Fremantle, Cockburn, Melville

Agencies: Cockburn Financial Counselling, Assisting Your Life to Achieve, Portcare, St Patrick’s, United Care West, Ottey Family Centre, Anglicare, City of Fremantle, Murdoch Student Guild, St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross

Services: Emergency Relief, financial counselling, accommodation, referrals

Meetings: Quarterly

Contact:

Geographical area: Geraldton and mid West

Agencies: Regional Alliance West, Carnarvon Family Support Services, Centacare, Sun City, Dept of Human Services, St Vincent de Paul

Services: Review and plan for coverage of ER in the region

Meetings: Every 2-3 months

Contact: Leeanne Robertson – [email protected]

CURRENTLY INACTIVE

Geographical area: Perth CBD, Town of Vincent, Town Victoria Park

Agencies: UnitingWA, Red Cross, Foodbank WA, Eco Pay it Forward, Australian Asian Association, Lotterywest, Hope Inc Community Services, Financial Counselling Hotline, Salvation Army, Perth Homeless Support

Meetings: Currently not meeting.

Contact:

Geographical area: Joondalup/ Wanneroo

Agencies: Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army, No Limits, Vinnies, Street Chaplains, Orange Sky, Food Bank, Anglicare, Beneath the Surface, Centre Care, City of Joondalup, City of Wanneroo, City of Stirling, Department of Communities, Department of Housing, Foundation Housing, Handor, Mercy Care, Northern Suburbs Legal Centre, Rainbow Community Church, Relationships Australia, Sacred Heart College, Outcare Thrive Program, Patricia Giles Centre, Dream Life Church, WACOSS, Youth Futures, The Spiers Centre, Quinns Baptist Community Care, Home Hub, Fortuna Foundation, APM, At Work Australia

Meetings: Every 2-3 months

Contact:

Chair, Kerriann Larsen – [email protected]

City of Joondalup, Pauline Wark – [email protected]

City of Wanneroo, Natalie Lynch – [email protected]

Geographical area: Shire of Northam

Agencies: Share and Care, Salvation Army, Faith Christian Fellowship, Seventh Day Adventist & Catholic Churches, Avon Youth

Meetings:

Contact: Carol Jones – Share & Care Community Services

Geographical area: Peel region

Agencies: City Mandurah, Passages, Westaus, Salvation Army, CPFS, Disability Services, Anglicare, Church of the Way, Palmerston, DSS, Peel Community Kitchen, Pat Thomas House, Peel Development Commission, Peel Youth Service, Peel Mental Health, Salvation Army, Street Chaplin’s

Meetings: Quarterly

Contact: City of Mandurah

Geographical area: Rockingham and Kwinana

Agencies: City of Rockingham, City of Kwinana, South Coastal/Babingur, Coastal District Care, Anglicare, GROW Mental Wellness Program, WAHA Rockingham, Salvation Army.

Meetings: Quarterly

Contact: City Rockingham

Geographical area: South East Corridor 

Agencies: Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Anglicare, All Saints’ Weekend Food Hampers, Champion Lakes Christian Church, City of Armadale, City of Gosnells, Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, City of Canning, Town of Victoria Park, Crossways Community Services, Communicare, Entrypoint (Communicare), Foodbank WA Inc, Gosnells Community Legal Centre, Hope community services, Jacaranda Community Centre, Linc Church Services Network, Lotterywest, Minnawarra House Roberta Jull Community Care Assoc. Inc, Mission Australia, Multicultural Communities Council of WA, Police Armadale WA, Real Life Church, Red Cross, Ruah Community Services, Save the Children Australia, Services Australia, St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Starick Services, Sussex Street Community Law Service Inc., St Vincent de Paul Society (WA) Inc, Thornlie Baptist Church Emergency Food Hampers, Thornlie Conference Member, The Hub Armadale, Western Australian Police and Community Youth Centres (PCYC), Wungening Aboriginal Corporation, William Langford Community House, Armadale Senior High School, Champion Project, Rotary Armadale, Department of Communities

Meetings: Bi-monthly

Contact: Musa Sheriff, City of Armadale –  [email protected]

Geographical area: City of Swan

Agencies: Indigo Junction, People who care, Foodbank WA, SVDPS, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation, Swan View Salvation Army

Meetings: 

Geographical area: Victoria Park, Belmont

Agencies: Manna Inc, Star Street Church, Foodbank WA, First Nations Homelessness Project, Riverview Community Services, St Vincent de Paul, Sussex Community Legal Centre, Ruah, Salvation Army, Jacaranda Community Centre

Meetings: Quarterly

Contact: Bev Fabb, Star Street Uniting Church – [email protected]

Sector Platforms

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.

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.