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Westpac delivers $1.305m Christmas gift for Sydney’s homeless


17 December 2014

Westpac has teamed up with Missionbeat - the vans that patrol the inner city supporting the homeless - to deliver a very special Christmas gift to people experiencing homelessness in Sydney.

Mission Australia’s Missionbeat has been a familiar sight to Sydneysiders for more than 30 years, as their experienced staff go about their work transporting homeless men and women to support services for safe accommodation, medical care, food and clothing.

Westpac has now delivered a $1.305 million contribution over three years1 - just in time for Christmas - which will allow Missionbeat to expand their service model to not only provide transport, but to support people intensively over a long period of time to secure permanent housing.

Announcing the partnership at Westpac’s headquarters in Sydney this morning, Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said that this funding from Westpac will allow Missionbeat to build on the important work it has been doing for decades.

“Missionbeat has provided a vital service to people experiencing homelessness over many years – both in transporting them to meet their immediate needs, but also by simply lending an ear and having a chat. Rough sleeping can be an incredibly isolating experience so those connections are really important,” Ms Yeomans said.

“This new funding from Westpac will allow us to go a step further, to provide the intensive support people need to end the cycle of homelessness and secure permanent housing.”

“As part of the expanded program, we will link people to other services they need in order to maintain that housing, because we know that tackling homelessness is not just about putting a roof over someone’s head; you have to support people to stay there. Services we will refer to may include drug and alcohol counselling, psychological and mental health services, education and employment or life skills.”

Westpac Institutional Bank Chief Executive, Rob Whitfield said the depth of Westpac’s partnership is cemented by the long term engagement of our employees and their ability to make a meaningful impact over many years.

“Today we are not just celebrating a more than 150 year corporate, community relationship, but taking a moment to recognise the hardship felt by our neighbours,” Mr Whitfield said.

“There’s a stark challenge facing the country – 100,000 homeless Australians on any one night. We remain committed to supporting this dedicated organisation whose expertise, we can draw upon to help make a genuine difference to the lives of the homeless,” he said.

Alongside the cheque, Westpac employees donated 3,5000 toiletry items to support Missionbeat’s drive for care packs to support rough sleepers on Sydney’s streets.

Missionbeat continues to take calls from the public if they are concerned about people experiencing homelessness. Missionbeat can be contacted on 1300 306 342.

1. Westpac’s $1.305 million sponsorship deal with Mission Australia will vest over three years, to provide well needed funding for Sydney’s iconic Missionbeat service.