Giving Shape to the Emergency Relief Sector

Giving Shape to the ER sector
2013 divERsity Conference
Presented by Irina Cattalini, WACOSS CEO
Scoping Study of ER
• March to July 2012 WACOSS project to scope the Emergency
Relief Sector - funded by Lotterywest
• Objectives of the Study:
1. Define the ER sector in WA
2. Identify the ways the sector is meeting the increasingly
complex needs of service users
Scoping Study of ER
Objectives of the Study(continued)
3.Identify the resources being used to meet ER need across the
4.Identify how ER services can best complement the financial
counselling, financial assistance and financial literacy programs
and services being funded by DCP and FaHCSIA
5.Identify the capacity building and resources required to sustain
the ER sector
Research Methodology
• There were 66 face to face consultations undertaken
with services
• Interviews with organisations in Perth, Albany,
Manjimup, Broome, Geraldton, Karratha, Corrigin,
Bunbury, Northam and Kununurra
• An online survey of 26 other service providers
• Data analysis and report finding by WACOSS staff, with
input from SERC
Identified Organisations Delivering ER Services
Small Church-located ER services
ER outlets of large faith based organisations
Multi-program organisations
Medium sized multi-program organisations
Large regional, multi-program organisations
Large faith based organisations
Identified Organisations Delivering
ER Services
• Not soup kitchens or mobile food distribution services
• The project could only identify one ER service in Perth
that operates over the weekend and only south of the
• Crisis Care - Department for Child Protection - limited
ER service after hours and at weekends - assist the
homeless, or those in domestic violence situations. All
other ER requests are referred out.
ER Referrals
The three agencies most frequently making referrals to
ER providers are:
1) Other ER Agencies 2) Centrelink
3) Department of Child Protection
The three agencies ER providers most frequently refer
to are:
1) Financial Counsellors 2) ER Providers
3) Accommodation providers
ER Referrals- the challenges
• Not enough services and programs to
accommodate appointments
• Small ER providers are usually approached
more for a ‘quick fix’ than ‘case management’.
• Small church services don’t have the capacity
to develop relationships with either the
service users or the other agencies they wish
to refer to.
Collaboration between ER services
• Need for more forums, local networks and collaboration
between ER services
• Service providers involved in ER forums and networks appear
to be better prepared to cope with presenting issues
• Helpful to keep up to date with changes occurring in the wider
social, political and administrative landscape
• Forums and networks often result in collaborations and
referral pathways between services
ER Services, Financial Counselling & Literacy
• ER Services can complement financial counselling services and
financial literacy programs
• Many who are referred to financial counsellors in order to
access a HUGS grant are not ready to make changes
• ER workers are able to assist people to be better prepared
and willing to participate in the financial counselling process
• There is a need to try and incorporate more financial literacy
programs into the services provided through emergency relief
Statistical Snapshot
• 76% of ER recipients reported their main source of
income was from Centrelink.
• ER was provided to 68,713 people by in the last 12
months (2011) (172 outlets)
• ER was provided 101,440 times in the previous 12
months (2011) which indicates that 33% of people
required ER more than once during that period (167
Statistical Snapshot
• Of those people receiving ER 33% were seeking ER from
the service for the first time
• A total of 19,514 people were turned away from services
due to a lack of resources in the last 12 months (28%)
• A total of 62,894 staff hours and 72,371 volunteer hours
were dedicated to ER delivery in the previous 12 months,
which indicates that over half of ER is delivered by
Sustaining the Emergency Relief Sector
A range of suggestions have been made on how to
better sustain the ER sector.
These include:
• Government should consider emergency relief a
legitimate program within it own right and commit to
ongoing funding and support
• The issues of those in financial need are becoming
more complex and more entrenched and it should not
be left predominately to volunteers to be the
frontline in confronting these issues of public concern
Sustaining the Emergency Relief Sector
• More resources should go into the regular and
sustainable collection of data on ER service
delivery and the needs of those in financial stress
• There should be more regular, flexible and
relevant training for volunteers , workers and
managers of emergency relief services
• There should be more research into the social
capital generated through the emergency relief
Panel Discussion
Irina Cattalini, WACOSS
Martine Pitt, Communicare
Sue King, Anglicare
Facilitated by Danny Ford

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