Warren had never had to ask a charity for help before.
He is a man with three university degrees who served in the military for 35 years.
But after moving to Tasmania from Melbourne, he fell on hard times.
He was renting a tiny room for $490 per week, and had no money after paying rent.
“For three weeks I had nothing to eat. I just couldn’t afford it. And then someone told me about HCM’s Emergency Relief program”.
“I’d never asked for help like that before. I’m nearly 61 and it’s a bit…I dunno… it didn’t feel right. But I rang and they slotted me in straight away. They told me not to be embarrassed about asking for help”.
“Places like HCM, they see it every day, and they do it with love and compassion and understanding. That’s all you can ask for as a human being”.
Emergency Relief provides food packs and toiletries to people in immediate financial crisis.
It also includes one-on-one appointments with support workers to help people identify the underlying causes of their crisis.
From there, HCM provides practical and financial assistance including supermarket vouchers, help to pay bills, and other advocacy and support. Emergency Relief would not be possible without you – your continued support helps fund the program and allows people to get the help they need.
Warren says that without your kindness, he does not know how he would put food on the table.
“Without the people who donate, I probably would have been dead a long time ago. I couldn’t have afforded to eat no matter what”.
“I’ve got cancer, and the cost of the medication is through the roof. Emergency Relief allows me to buy the medication I need”.
Warren has been working hard to get support from the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) but says that the process is very difficult, with limited support services for veterans in the state.
“Lots of veterans come to HCM, Salvos and Vinnies, just to be able to eat every day. And it shouldn’t be like that. There are so many veterans who live on the street”.
Warren accesses Emergency Relief appointments every fortnight. He has moved twice since arriving in Tasmania, and is moving into a more affordable home soon. He hopes this will be his last move for some time.
“A lot of charities think that helping once is making a difference in somebody’s life, and it’s not, that’s just helping once. Then the care stops”.
“The difference with HCM is that they care. They keep providing ongoing help, up to where people can be comfortable enough to do things on their own”.
“HCM look at it like – ‘you’re a human being, you need to eat’. And it’s not a ‘handout’ it’s a ‘hand up’. That’s the difference”.
Despite his difficulties, Warren focusses his time on helping other vulnerable Tasmanians. He is part of the City of Hobart’s Housing with Dignity Reference Group. The group includes people with lived experience who advise the council and work on projects to support other people experiencing homelessness.
He also volunteers with The Salvation Army Street 2 Home team, which provides outreach support for people sleeping on the street, or staying at Safe Space.
“I appreciate all the help that I get. I’m [volunteering] because it’s the only thing I can do to show how much I appreciate what others are doing for me”.
Warren wants to thank you, for showing kindness and compassion to the hundreds of Tasmanians just like him.
“I’d just like to say thank you to all the people that do donate. It makes a huge difference in my life personally. But I also know it makes a huge difference to everybody that comes to HCM to get help – whether it’s for food or for the Day Space or just somewhere to be overnight”.
“If donors really want to see what their money does, have a look at people’s faces when they realise, ‘wow, there’s food – I can have something to eat’”.
“Because without food there’s no life, and without HCM there’s no food”.