Project 2500 launched

March 11, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The Jewish House Project Plan 2500 designed to meet the light of the ever-growing number of homeless in NSW was launched today at State Parliament…in the presence of a homeless couple “rescued” by Jewish House and Nora Goodridge, a major benefactor to the cause.

 

Teresa, Shane and Rabbi Mendel Kastel

Teresa, Shane and Rabbi Mendel Kastel

Gabrielle Upton MLA , the NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation , launched Project 2500 at the NSW Parliament House in Macquarie Street. Jewish House is one of Sydney’s leading community organisations, helping alleviate homelessness.

This project aims to help 2,500 homeless people across Sydney’s Inner City and Eastern Suburbs through raising $6million for prevention and intervention services. ‘Project 2500’ will run over three- years and is estimated to save NSW up to $40 for every $1 spent by creating a secure, stable and supported environment for this marginalised group.

A major report prepared in conjunction with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) highlighted some staggering statistics:

– There are currently 28,000 people experiencing homelessness in NSW, the highest number in the country.

– Each homeless person costs our society on average $706,000 over their lifetime

– A homeless person has a life expectancy of 47 compared to the average of 82 across Australia.

Gabrielle Upton with Teresa and Shane

Gabrielle Upton with Teresa and Shane

Spearheaded by Rabbi Mendel Kastel CEO of Jewish House, Project 2500 plays a vital role in the achievement of the Government’s strategy to break the cycle of homelessness at a federal, state and local level.

“For over 25 years, Jewish House has taken a non-denominational, holistic approach to people helping people” said Rabbi Kastel. “The objective of Project 2500 is to prevent 2,500 people ending up sleeping on our streets, through a mix of individually tailored strategies. Depending on the specific need, we provide emergency food and housing, psychological and financial counseling, employment assistance and much more.”

Every day Rabbi Kastel witnesses the far-reaching effects of long term homelessness, including reduced employment prospects, mental health problems, drug dependency and a greater demand on community resources.

Shane, Teresa and Nora Goodridge

Shane, Teresa and Nora Goodridge

Following a report in Sunday’s Sun-Herald about a homeless couple bedding down on the concourse at Sydney’s Central Railway, Rabbi Kastel headed for the station to find them and bring them back to Jewish House in Bondi which offers refuge facilities.

Teresa and Shane were fed and clothed  and attended the opening of the campaign, sitting alongside Nora Goodridge who has pledged $1 million towards the cost of the campaign.

An expert in the field, Rabbi Kastel has done extensive research in the US and Canada on how to break the cycle of homelessness and is now calling for “immediate and effective action” to end this serious social problem.

“We are taking ownership by leading the way and setting the direction, so that eventually this approach can be rolled out and used by other organisations across the state and country” says Rabbi Kastel.

The event featured a presentation by PWC, outlining the extent of the homelessness problem and the innovative strategies employed under Project 2500 as well as Michael Trail founding Chief Executive of Social Ventures Australia.

 

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