Earning the trust of individuals, families and communities as a valued partner in addressing systemic and social inequality is crucial to our mission.

To raise awareness of social issues and advocate for systemic change, we collaborate in partnerships, alliances and events throughout the year.


100 Families WA

Uniting is a collaborating partner in the 100 Families WA research project to better understand the lived experience of people experiencing hardship and poverty, and what’s required to break the cycle of entrenched disadvantage.

In August 2020, we supported 100 Families WA to release the findings of the coronavirus survey. The survey found that 46% of families used the Coronavirus Supplement to pay overdue bills or repay debt.


Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs)

At Uniting, we recognise the value of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) taking the lead in partnerships, and we’re working towards achieving this in existing and future collaborations.

In partnership with Kinship Connections, Uniting provides support and assistance to family carers. Over the past 5 years, we’ve also partnered with Wungening Aboriginal Corporation and Centrecare in the Beyond Youth Justice service. This has delivered lasting, positive outcomes for young people involved with the justice system, and their families.

We partnered with Noongar Mia Mia to deliver the Lotterywest-supported Beds for Change program as part of the early response to COVID-19. The aim of the program was to provide safe and supported accommodation for rough sleepers, as well as specialised, culturally-appropriate support that enabled people to build their capacity to maintain future tenancies.


Disrupted Festival

Uniting participated in the 2020 Disrupted Festival of ideas. We put together a panel of experts to discuss ending homelessness. The panel, including CEO Amanda Hunt, discussed what a society that prioritises safe, accessible accommodation for everyone could achieve. Our participation moved the debate forward and contributed to raising the profile of Homelessness as a key issue in Western Australian society.


Homeless Engagement Assessment Response Team (HEART) Homelessness Partnership

Uniting partnered with St Pat’s, Ruah and Wungening to form a data-informed and evidence-driven consortium to better respond to chronic rough sleeping through the provision of person-centred and trauma-informed services.


Financial Counselling Network

Uniting is a lead agency of the Financial Counselling Network – a partnership of not-for-profit organisations and local government across Perth committed to reducing the causes and impacts of financial hardship in our community.


For Community, By Community

A Lotterywest-supported community connector model, For Community, By Community aims to build community capacity by harnessing collective strengths across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to build stronger connections, share ideas and expertise. The model informs a new approach to partnerships, including recommendations for a model of coordination, resource sharing and central data collection that is independent, ongoing and owned by the entire community services sector.

For Community, By Community has focused on building supports for people most at risk of disadvantage and hardship, with the ultimate goal of improving the support and services available to people with complex challenges who are at the most entrenched end of the community services spectrum.


Perceptions of Poverty in WA

Uniting is in a coalition with Anglicare WA, Foodbank WA, Ruah Community Services, Communicare and WACOSS to advocate for tackling poverty. The coalition commissioned the Perceptions of Poverty in WA study, which found that nearly 75% of Western Australians support a permanent increase in the JobSeeker rate.

When the Jobseeker rate went up by $225 per week due to the Coronavirus Supplement, people reported that they were finally able to meet their basic needs and afford things like healthy food, new clothes, car repairs and medical procedures. The Supplement ended in March 2021 – bringing JobSeeker down to $310.40. We continue to advocate for a JobSeeker rate which sits above the poverty Line in Australia, which is $457 per week for a single adult.


Social Reinvestment WA

Justice Reinvestment Sites

Social Reinvestment WA (SRWA) partners with and supports communities who are ready to lead local justice reinvestment approaches. They keep communities, organisations and people around the state connected on justice reinvestment, championing the work being done and helping build the evidence base required to achieve meaningful change.

Uniting supported this year’s SRWA Raise the Age Campaign. Children can currently be held criminally responsible in WA from the age of 10. Uniting doesn’t believe any child should be incarcerated, so we advocate with SRWA for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised to at least 14. In reality, we would like to see alternatives to incarceration being developed and implemented for young people until age 18.

Fine Enforcement Changes

Last year, changes to fines enforcement legislation allowed people with debt due to fines to work their debt off through a Work Development Plan (WDP). The WDP can include engaging with services, so Uniting registered as a sponsor.

Over the past year, people attending our Financial Wellbeing services, or being provided with case management support by the Transitioning from Homelessness team, have been able to work off significant debt while also being supported to achieve their goals.


Uniting Church Social Justice Commission

Our ability to address social inequality has been strengthened by our ongoing partnership with the Uniting Church Western Australia. Uniting Practice Lead – Community Engagement is an appointed member of the Uniting Church Social Justice Commission and attends their regular meetings. 

As part of our work with the Social Justice Commission, we also worked with Uniting Church schools and congregations to support the Reconciliation Week virtual event in 2021. This extended the reach of the event in a COVID safe way.


Lotterywest

Uniting has received significant support from Lotterywest this year, allowing us to make a difference in the lives of many people experiencing hardship and disadvantage.

Services and projects supported by Lotterywest include:

  • Beds for Change
  • Emergency Relief
  • For Community, By Community
  • Transforming Tranby.

Partnerships and advocacy — achievements in brief

  • Continued our partnership with the Emergency Relief & Food Access Service (ERFAS) to deliver emergency relief
  • Took part in UnitingCare Australia Community Services and Disability Support Networks
  • Advocated for children and young people with the Department of Communities
  • Strengthened partnerships with other Community Housing Providers and peak bodies.