Shelter WA was in Katanning in July, with Regional Engagement Manager Rhiannon Bristow-Stagg visiting local services and participating in a youth forum.
Katanning Regional Emergency Accommodation (KREAC) have been operating for over 30 years looking after vulnerable people in the Great Southern and beyond. Despite the challenges of operating in a smaller regional centre their local profile has grown in recent years.
If you notice glowing flamingos dotted around Katanning, this is just one of the initiatives KREAC are behind. In addition to their core work, other initiatives include fundraising for White Ribbon, Christmas hampers, producing a cookbook of budget meals and running morning tea at the ‘shed’ to break down barriers. At the ‘shed’ furniture is sold at very low prices to people moving into independent housing. Basics like beds and mattresses, tables, chairs and dressers are welcome items as well as kids furniture and items.
Manager Sheralee Buss has worked for KREAC for 11 years, and explained they are currently dealing with a spike in homelessness, a lack of housing to refer people to and no longer have transitional housing. A downside to such dedication is being witness to the reality of intergenerational cycles of poverty and trauma in the area.
Elsewhere in Katanning, the spotlight was on youth. Shelter WA participated in the Central Great Southern Youth Sector Forum organised by YACWA and funded by Lotterywest.
The focus was on both networking and exploring a range of key regional issues in the youth sector, including housing and homelessness. Shelter WA members Albany Youth Support Association, Southern Aboriginal Corporation and Anglicare WA were among the attendees representing 22 organisations from Albany, Broomehill, Gnowangerup, Katanning, Kojonup, Narrogin and Tambellup.
Central Great Southern Youth Sector Forum
Local input into decision making and collaboration are key for regionally based workers in the sector, who can experience isolation and a disconnect from decision making. Organiser Kim Schroeder, YACWA Great Southern Officer said: “The need to listen and engage with services, community members and most importantly young people on the ground level, is invaluable to ensure the needs of the regional communities and our most vulnerable youth are supported in the future”.
The visit was part of Shelter WA’s development of a regional engagement framework, a project funded by Lotterywest. For more information on Shelter WA’s work in the regions visit our Regional WA page.