The Road Home – a project to end homelessness locally. ‘We aim to raise awareness of homelessness and to provide a means to assist people to turn a house into a home, by providing dignity, warmth and identity to those experiencing homelessness.’ We hear from Richard Walter. ‘I was born in Melbourne, lived in Glen Iris with my parents and 4 brothers and sisters, I married in 1983 and moved to Corio, with my wife and have been living there for 30 years. We’ve brought up our 2 daughters in a supportive family environment.
‘Both my wife and I come from loving families with parents who have given a lot of their adult life to community involvement. I believe seeing what other people do over a long period of time encourages you to perform similar activities. I was involved as a School counselor for 4 years while our children were attending Corio Primary School and involved with Meals on Wheels for 2 years.
‘I have devoted the last 10 years to the Lions Club, firstly in Lara and then helped form the new Lions Club of Corio Norlane and became its first president. We began with 3 major projects, collecting and donating refurbished computers, supporting a breakfast program at @Northern Bay College 2 days a week and collecting blankets for the homeless. Last year we expanded the Blanket appeal and with the support of the Barwon South West Homeless Network formed ”The Road Home” project.
‘This project has 2 aims. Firstly, collecting bedding, winter clothing and hygiene items to distribute directly to those in need. Businesses agree to host a wheelie bin for the collection of these items between April and September. Secondly, we inform the community, by explaining reasons behind homelessness. By creating a greater awareness in the community, we can help. Seeing people sleeping rough and struggling with everyday life breaks my heart, so with the support of Geraldine and the Lions Club members I am pushing the boundaries to improve their lives.
‘The Lions Club is looking at setting up a women’s support accommodation in the Northern suburbs and any offers of support would be most appreciated.
‘My wife and I have been fortunate to be involved locally with families that are struggling to make ends meet and with this in mind we have been encouraged to aim at supporting those in extreme need the best way we know. Now we have involved other members of the Lions club.
How can the people of Geelong help?
‘Email firstname.lastname@example.org You can offer support in many ways, you can:
- learn more about those experiencing homelessness to become more understanding of their situations
- donate items to the project
- host collection bins and crates to collect items for the project
- volunteer to help support the project
- have a donation tin and fundraise for the project.
The Road Home project will try and provide an event every few months to continue to raise the awareness of those in need.’
Photo: Richard with students of Barwon Heads Primary School.