Rap for Jewish House in State Parliament

August 23, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW State member for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton has told the NSW Parliament of the latest initiative of Bondi’s Jewish House.

Hansard has reported Liberal member Gabrielle Upton as saying”

“This year Homeless Persons’ Week was held between 5 August and 11 August.

Mission beat worker about to set off in search of homeless dogs with Sam Kovak, Rabbi Mendel Kastel,Bruce Notley-Smith and Gabrielle Upton

Mission beat worker about to set off in search of homeless dogs with Sam Kovak, Rabbi Mendel Kastel, Bruce Notley-Smith and Gabrielle Upton

On Monday 5 August I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Project HoPe at the Town Hall, along with my colleague Mr Bruce Notley-Smith, the member for Coogee, and representatives from both Waverley and City of Sydney councils, including Mayor Sally Betts.

Jewish House is located at Flood Street, Bondi. It opens its door to members of the public in need of counselling, immediate crisis intervention, food and shelter, psychiatry, psychology and job search support. It also has a 24-hour, 7-days crisis line. The crisis intervention and prevention services are provided to individuals and families suffering from depression, alcoholism, gambling and drug addiction, domestic violence, mental illness, unemployment, homelessness, family disputes and other crises.

Chief Executive Officer Rabbi Kastel is the driving force behind Jewish House. He is tireless in his efforts to extend its reach to people in need. Rabbi Mendel Kastel and veterinarian Dr Sam Kovac of Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic collaborated to establish Project HoPe and provide free vaccinations and health checks to pets of the homeless. This project is a really positive community initiative to help an often forgotten part of our society: disadvantaged pets.

Pets can be wonderful companions and they often form strong bonds with their owners. No doubt that bond is even more powerful for homeless pet owners whose animal friends provide the foundation for their physical, mental and social wellbeing. Hundreds of homeless people in Sydney are pet owners but, sadly, only a small proportion of their pets are properly vaccinated against common diseases.

It is a challenge for many homeless people in Sydney to provide their pets with food and shelter, let alone with necessary but often expensive vaccinations. 

All animal lovers understand the heartbreak and devastating consequences of not being able to afford medical treatment for a devoted pet. That is why Project HoPe is such a worthy and important initiative in our community.

I applaud the project, Jewish House and Dr Kovac. This winter, Project HoPe aims to vaccinate as many homeless pets in Sydney as possible against common and preventable diseases. Some of these vaccines cost less than $50 but many of the diseases they protect against can prove deadly to pets.

Dr Kovac will run Project HoPe with help from Jewish House. He will administer the free vaccinations himself. 

Homeless Persons’ Week is an important week on our calendar; it encourages us to stop and reflect on homelessness.

The New South Wales Government is strongly committed to preventing and addressing homelessness across our State. That commitment is articulated in NSW 2021, the NSW Homelessness Action Plan and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.

The NSW Homelessness Action Plan set the direction for reform of the homelessness service sector from 2009 to 2014. It focuses on three areas: to prevent homelessness and aim to ensure that people never become homeless; to respond effectively to homelessness so that people who are homeless do not become entrenched in the system; and to break the cycle so that people who have been homeless do not become homeless again.

The Homelessness Action Plan incorporates activities funded under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness in which the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have committed to jointly invest in services to tackle homelessness. Homeless Persons’ Week encourages people to hold events to raise awareness about homelessness and local organisations or services which help people experiencing homelessness. I welcome this focus and offer my congratulations once again to Rabbi Mendel Kastel, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish House, and veterinarian Dr Sam Kovac on the wonderful Project HoPe initiative.”

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