Appealing for your help to tackle homelessness and drug addiction

The Salvation Army Family Store volunteers Barry Handcock and Dot Chapman at Saturday's Red Shield Appeal launch in Bega. Picture: Alasdair McDonald
The Salvation Army Family Store volunteers Barry Handcock and Dot Chapman at Saturday's Red Shield Appeal launch in Bega. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

The Bega-Tathra region has the highest rate of homelessness on the South Coast, and organisations across the region are looking to drastically reduce the number.

This year The Salvation Army are looking to raise $73million during its annual Red Shield Appeal, with Bega Corps officer Captain Rod Parsons saying the amount is “nothing” compared to what is needed to solve the issues of homelessness and drug addiction alone.

The organisation launched its doorknock appeal on Saturday inside its Bega store.

Mr Parson’s wife and fellow corps member Deb Parsons said rehabilitation and homelessness services “take a huge amount of funding to run”.

The organisation’s area officer Captain Kathy Crombie said homelessness is an increasingly important issue across the entire South East of the state.

Bega Corps members Rod and Deb Parsons with deputy mayor Liz Seckold, and area officer Kathy Crombie on Saturday. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Bega Corps members Rod and Deb Parsons with deputy mayor Liz Seckold, and area officer Kathy Crombie on Saturday. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Ms Crombie said Canberra’s homeless shelters are currently at full capacity, and the organisation is partnering with others, such as Rotary, to attempt a different approach in dealing with the issue.

Bega Valley Shire deputy mayor Liz Seckold, who was evacuated from Tathra during the March bushfire, thanked the organisation for their help during and after the disaster.

“I was one of the people evacuated, and it was good to see your friendly faces at the evacuation centre,” she said.

“It was just an amazing event.”

Ms Parsons said the disaster relief effort is ongoing, and the organisation has raised $100,000 for residents hit hard by the bushfire.

Maurie McArthur and Robin Savage during Saturday's Red Shield Appeal launch. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Maurie McArthur and Robin Savage during Saturday's Red Shield Appeal launch. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

“We’re now starting to get calls from people outside the area who moved out after the bushfire and are now looking for help,” she said.

“What we are finding is people want someone to talk to, because when you lose everything all at once, what do you replace first?”

Ms Seckold said the organisation has come a long way since members were pelted with small bags of flour, eggs, vegetable and even a dead cat during their arrival to the Bega Valley in 1890, “with no help from police”.

“In the words of Rod Parsons, we can’t do this alone,’ Ms Seckold said.

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