Working poor struggle to afford housing



That is the findings of a recent forum held by St George and Sutherland Housing Interagency on housing affordability in the region.

The so-called “working poor” were among those hardest hit by a lack of affordable housing, said Orana (Shire Community Services) manager Elizabeth O’Neil.

She said many workers could not afford housing anywhere near their place of employment, which added to stress.

Mrs O’Neill said 59,500 people eligible for social housing were on the NSW waiting list.

“We know as workers that there are many more eligible people who have not applied for housing. These include key workers and the working poor who are not able to afford to pay the huge rents in St George and Sutherland, and this figure could easily be doubled,” she said. “In June 2014 only 1.3 per cent of rentals were affordable to people on a very low income, 6.9 per cent were affordable for people on a low income and 59.7 per cent were affordable for people on a moderate income.”

St George and Sutherland Housing Interagency convener Serena Yam said increasing property prices and rents were leading towards an “imminent housing crisis”.

Ms Yam wanted federal, state and local leaders to act to increase affordable housing, and pointed to the City of Sydney’s policy of asking developers in Green Square to provide low-cost housing or a monetary contribution.

Reaching out: Necessities for daily life given to homeless



reaching From Nov. 11, 2015


SUTHERLAND Shire-based charity Reaching has thanked 20 volunteers who helped compile emergency packs for homeless people in Sutherland Shire.

The president of Reaching, John Soliman, said the volunteers from Mirvac spent time putting soap, toothbrushes, rain ponchos and other essentials in backpacks for homeless locals.

He said more than 30 people sleep rough in the Royal National Park each night and many more were couch surfers.

Reaching also distributes tents and sleeping bags to homeless people via grassroots organisations such as Orana Inc.

Providing emergency food relief is another core part of their work and one in which shoppers can help.

Soon all shoppers on Woolworths Online will be able to donate a food grocery pack to Sutherland Shire residents doing it tough.

Shoppers will see a link that will enable them to purchase an emergency food pack to be distributed to individuals or families.

Reaching is a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation helping people in need in Sutherland Shire.

To donate, see

Workshop tailored to men

From Oct 14. 2015

AS PART of Mental Health Month in October Orana Hub Coastal at Caringbah will hold a men’s wellbeing workshop on October 21.

The free event will include talks by a male psychologist, a wellbeing coach and an exercise physiologist.

Pippa Dean, Orana Hub Coastal’s co-ordinator, said there seemed to be a lack of services for early-intervention mental health services for men in Sutherland Shire.

This is the first time the organisation has run such a workshop and she hopes men of all ages will attend.

The event is on Wednesday, October 21, from 6pm to 8pm at Orana Hub Coastal, 38/52 President Avenue, Caringbah.

Holistic approach to mental health: Pippa Dean urged men and their families to attend a free workshop.Picture: Jane Dyson.

Challenges of Parenting Adult Children(COPAC)

This support group is for parents who have a teenage or adult child who is experiencing a mental health issue or has a drug and alcohol problem and with whom you are experiencing anxiety, stress or domestic related issues.  Come along and hear our guest speakers as they deliver relevant and interesting information and gain support from parents experiencing a similar situation. Held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6.30pm at 3a Stapleton Avenue, Sutherland – All Welcome.

Sutherland Shire mums are being given a helping hand through the Orana Early Support Program.

This story appeared in the St George Leader Feb 12, 2016

Maxine Lambert, of Sutherland Shire, is a busy mother-of-three who sometimes needs an extra helping hand.

She is one of the many shire parents who have benefited from the Orana Early Support Project.

The home visiting project links volunteers with parents of babies and young children ages zero to three who have been identified as needing extra assistance.

Volunteers support people who may be isolated, going through a crisis or at risk of postnatal depression by providing hands-on support such as child-minding.

The project helps descrease social isolation and promote social inclusion of shire residents and families.

Ms Lambert was appointed a volunteer helper in August, and said they had become friends.

Orana Early Support Project is looking for extra volunteers.

Project coordinator Melissa Philbrook said: ‘‘We don’t have an atypical volunteer, but our only real requirement is that the person have parenting experience or extensive experience caring for infants and young children’’.

The main duties include offering support to new mums, providing respite— and advice— when asked.

‘‘It is similar to what an extended family member would provide,’’ Ms Philbrook said.

Volunteers are asked to commit to around two to four hours per week for a minimum period of six months.

The project is available to families in the shire. It also provides outreach services to families in Bundeena.

Free training for new volunteers will take place at the beginning of March.