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Aaron Pryce from One Voice gives an insight into those sleeping rough in Perth 

Can you imagine living a normal, everyday life one day, and then suddenly finding yourself sleeping in your car, perhaps with your children, and having no safe, warm place to stay at night? That’s sadly been the reality for many West Australians over the past couple of years, with the rising cost of living, rising rental prices and very few rentals available. Recently Lockie caught up with Aaron Pryce from One Voice, one of the partners in our Heart For The Homeless appeal, to find out what their experience has been over this time. 

Aaron Pyrce - One Voice Australia

A One Voice mobile shower truck.

Aaron Pryce has seen an influx of people, who’ve never been in this position before, looking for help

Aaron says the need for homeless support services has risen incredibly. “For everybody, regardless of where you sit in life, things are getting hard! Fuel prices are through the roof, you go to do your weekly shopping and you’re paying 50% more than what you were a year ago. Unfortunately, we’re seeing that out on the street as well. More people are in need, more people coming for assistance. An influx of people who’ve never been in this position before and that’s really tough, lots of families in need, people sleeping in their cars. Our crew down in Rockingham and the Mandurah area do hampers on a Friday; they were preparing 75 hampers before, and now they’re sending out 95 every time they open up.” 

One Voice is an organisation that provides a range of services, including taking specially fitted-out shower trucks to areas where people are known to sleep rough, giving them access to fluffy towels, toiletries, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and everything they might need to freshen up. Aaron says that service is very much appreciated, but it doesn’t stop there! “The idea is that people can come, have a shower, have a shave, get some new socks, warm up in these freezing mornings and nights. Then we set up some chairs and a table outside and say ‘Hey, hang out with us for a bit, have a yarn, we want to hear your story, we want to get to know you.’ We link in with other organisations, so at most places, we’ll have three or four other service providers, people providing meals, laundry, whatever they need.” 

A new future is the ultimate goal

The ultimate goal for One Voice is to help people to find a way out of their current situation and into a new future. Aaron says it’s a real privilege to be involved in such important work. “It’s such an amazing tool to reach people, but the blessing is actually to us. We get to meet some incredible people with incredible talents that are just in a tough season, and help them hopefully to take a step out of there.” 

With more than 9000 West Australians experiencing homelessness on any given night we’re encouraging our 98five Family to get behind our Heart For The Homeless appeal, by donating new sleeping bags, clothing and toiletries which will be distributed to those who need them most by One Voice, along with St Pat’s and Uniting WA. You can find a full list of items to donate, and a range of drop-off locations right across Perth here 

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