Federal Government cuts funding to CCA two days before Christmas

[Media Release from member Christian Community Aid] On 23rd December 2014 the Federal Government announced a funding cut of $236,000 to a key local non-profit community service provider Christian Community Aid (CCA) based in Eastwood. The impact of these significant cuts is huge, not just financially but also socially to individuals, families and the wider community.   These cuts directly impact CCA’s Financial Counselling Service, established in the 1980s, the Emergency Relief Program which has operated since 1966 and the Community Settlement Services to newly arrived migrants. A team of 12 qualified staff and volunteers with vast experience and knowledge provide these professional services and assistance without charge to community members.

CCA’s Financial Counselling program sees approximately 350 individual clients a year. Of these, more than half:

  • live in rental accommodation and face increasing rental costs,
  • receive Government benefits as their sole source of income,
  • have annual incomes of less than $20,000, and
  • are aged between 26-45.

The President of CCA, Mr Charles Kilby said “The loss of this funding at this point in time is creating a ‘Perfect storm’ for hardship in the near future. We have already experienced an increase of over 6% in bankruptcies over the past year. Interest rates are at their lowest point for decades and when the interest rate cycle turns and rents continue to increase combined with potential higher unemployment forecasts the most vulnerable in our community will be hardest hit.” The loss of funding will adversely impact CCA’s capacity to provide safe, professional and timely services to support the disenfranchised community members who often face complex financial issues. Mr Kilby added “The safety net that currently prevents people from falling through the cracks into homelessness, welfare benefits, anxiety, depression and suicide will be eroded; it will affect the mental health and physical well-being of the most marginalized people and their families who have previously been protected with dignity and respect.”

Emergency Relief plays an important part in CCA’s community work. It offers services and assistance to more than 300 clients a year, of which around 36% have a disability or chronic health issues. Support provided includes:

  • emergency food parcels,
  • assistance with medical, dental and pharmaceutical costs, and
  • contribution towards family expenses,
  • rental arrears

CCA’s General Manager, Ms Heather Pinto said “The magnitude of this funding loss impacts our organisation’s ability to deliver services that alleviate serious financial hardships attached to the daily struggles with the ever increasing costs of living. It will disempower the most vulnerable in our community who struggle to survive.”   Ms Pinto believes that the Government’s lack of empathy reinforces the economic and social evils of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in the community which makes a mockery of the Australian idea of a ‘fair go’.

CCA is a non-denominational service provider to the local communities. In 2015 CCA celebrates 50 years of service in response to the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community. CCA services are diverse: Family Day Care, Adult Leisure Learning, Youth services, Migrant Support, Seniors and Disability, Meals on Wheels, Emergency Relief, Financial Counselling and Tax Help. Our 48 staff are supported by over 450 volunteers ensuring that CCA is efficient and cost effective in meeting the needs of the local community through timely, compassionate and professional services.

The funding cuts will make it very difficult for CCA to follow its vision of engaging with the community to enable better lives.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND TO SUPPORT CCA:

Contact Heather Pinto at CCA by phone 9858 3222 or email heather.pinto@ccas.org.au

Also check CCA’s website: www.ccas.org.au & Christian Community Aid’s Facebook page.

Write to your local Federal and State MP’s and contact your local council in support of CCA.

The short URL of the present article is: http://www.rydebusiness.com.au/mialc