Kerrie Crtalic works for SalvoConnect Barwon as the manager of the Lazarus Centre, Samaritan House Geelong and Men’s Homelessness Services. The Salvos are partnering with the local community to provide homelessness services and raise funds to expand the work they are already doing.
Walking Home event—can you tell us a little about what will be happening and who will be there taking part?
Walking Home is an annual community homelessness awareness and fundraising campaign. Hundreds of people from the community walk together in solidarity, standing against homelessness. Housing is a right and together we can make a difference in the community.
Walking Home coincides with Homelessness Week, which will be held from 6–12 August, with the theme of ‘Ending Homelessness Together’. It will also be the coldest time of the year—when most people are likely to be overcome by the elements. Together, we can raise awareness of the chronic issue of homelessness in the Barwon region while fundraising for the Salvos.
The total walk distance is 37 km, but walkers can choose between four distances, depending on fitness level and time availability. Whatever the distance, they will be walking alongside dedicated representatives of the many organisations who deliver services to homeless people.
It wouldn’t be possible without major sponsors like Edge Clothing, KRock and In House Foundation.
Funds raised by the event helped establish the Lazarus Centre. What are the highlights of this partnership with the community?
The Lazarus Centre provides a safe place of unconditional welcome for homeless and disadvantaged people in the Geelong region, including facilities for showering and clothes laundering, as well as improving their health and wellbeing with entertainment such as TV.
The centre has been operational for just over 12 months, and in that time we have provided more than 10,000 activities in the way of shower/laundry/meals and recreation, with over 4,500 visits to the centre.
What’s in the future for the Centre?
We are aiming to become a world-class facility offering wellbeing programs, health services and training and education opportunities.
For those who can’t take part in the walk, are there other ways they can support the work?
You can sponsor a walker, donate directly via the registration site (salvationarmy.org.au/walkinghome) or volunteer. And, remember—WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER!
About the walk
Last year over 400 walkers took part, as well as a number of volunteers providing participants with refreshments and first aid.
This year will see people from across the entire community continuing to support the event, united by a desire to raise awareness and end homelessness in the Barwon region.