This year I am very proud to have joined the ac.care Support Homeless People Luncheon committee. This business luncheon is a bi-annual event founded by the late Barry Maney OAM to raise funds for ac.care to help prevent homelessness in our community. The event has raised a phenomenal amount of funds and awareness since it began 3 luncheons ago, in 2012. With a committee of just 4 members I feel very privileged to be joining their power-team to help continue their amazing work at the 2018 luncheon. The funds raised help ac.care prevent homelessness in our community. An example was the creation of a new program, TED (Tenancy Education Program), which went on to win the state award for the 2017 Australian Housing Institute Awards. The TED program teaches people how to budget, prepare for job interviews and meet with local property managers and has made a difference with homeless numbers in our community dropping this year.
Luncheon Committee (from left): Barry Stafford, Astyn Reid, Di Ind, Anne Hinkly-Tyler, Robin Reid.
Each luncheon welcomes a different key note speaker and each year the speaker has been a major attraction to the business lunch. Next year will be no exception with Mr Tim Guest, a self-made millionaire who was retired in his late 20s and has recently appeared on television in the SBS documentary ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ being the 2018 guest speaker.
Mr Guest now works as a financial educator promoting financial literacy and education. He is also a committed philanthropist. In ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ Mr Guest slept on the streets to experience being homeless. This furthered his understanding of the impact it has on an individual and what can be done to help.
“It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, both physically, mentally and emotionally, …and the most valuable. Not because I enjoyed it, but because of what I discovered about people who I had previously largely ignored. I have come to admire many as some of the most generous, resourceful and inspiring people I have ever met” said Mr Guest.
One of the ac.care services that was funded by the luncheons went on to win a State award for the 2017 Australasian Housing Institute. This service, the Tenancy Education program (TED) is a homelessness prevention strategy, teaching people how to budget, prepare for job interviews, maintain a home and learn from Housing SA and local property agents. Funds have also been used to obtain additional properties to temporarily house families whilst ac.care staff work with them to find safe and more stable accommodation. They also work to assist the family with other issues that may be going on for them.
“Since the first 2012 luncheon businesses and community have come together to support people experiencing homelessness. We have raised over $210,000, all of which has remained in our community with local charity ac.care. The funds have assisted over 850 local people, including children from becoming homeless and securing safe and stable accommodation” said Barry Stafford, Chairman Support Homeless People Luncheon committee.
“There are four equally important outcomes of the luncheon” continued Barry. “These are the funds raised, the awareness of why people can become homeless and available supports, the learnings from key note business speakers and the support ac.care receives after the luncheon from business and community leaders exploring other ways to help.”
The committee welcomes Ms Astyn Reid from Kinship Productions. Astyn has been invited onto the committee to bring her youthful energy and professional story-telling skills to help raise awareness, not only of the event but the reasons for homelessness in our community.
“After attending the 2016 Homelessness Luncheon and feeling the astounding compassion and energy in the room, I wanted to help ac.care and support this great cause in some way. It really is remarkable what this small committee of four have achieved, and the support our community has shown is unlike any other in Australia. The luncheons aren’t only about the funds raised on the day, but the ongoing support from local businesses. Whether that is from a donation of goods, staff time or services, we are all able to help in some way. I look forward to using my filmmaking and story-telling skills to continue raising awareness and help make a difference to homelessness in our community.”
The next Support Homeless People Luncheon will be on Friday 13th April 2018 at The Barn Palais, Mount Gambier. Tickets are $100 per person or sold in tables of 10 for $1000 and can be purchased by contacting Barry Stafford at Barry Maney Group on (08) 8721 3400.