The nightly foodvan service so lovingly nurtured for the past 17 years by Just Enough Faith and its merry band of volunteers faces a dubious future following the recent hostile administrative siezure by a hostile State Government. The siezure, based on months of innuendo started by malicious persons with excellent media connections, was not on account of the organisation being in debt-No creditors are known to be beating the door down. The State Labor Government’s nose had been squarely out of joint after years of watching the miniscule organisations outstanding successes in delivering services to homeless people.Hot restaurant class meals every night. Raincoats when it rained. Warm clothes,socks and undies. Blankets. Even a christmas party complete with a convoy of buses to “a secret venue”, like the overseas passenger terminal at Barangaroo or in recent times at Callan Park. Not only did JEF politely refuse government funding( because it is tagged to government programme delivery) but he forced the government, and its charity business partners, to lift their game and supply the actual services which they told a grateful public and generous donors they were providing. To their credit, some charities did lift their game-some didn’t. Anti-Jef forces,who wanted Jef Gambin to retire so they could take over appeared on the horizon, a godsend for the labor government, who collaborated with a glacial speed investigation of Just Enough Faith and her finances culminating in the siezure of the organisation. An administrator appointed from another government ministry took over on April 26th and immediately set about asset stripping. Just Enough Faiths essential Foodvans were given to government contractor Exodus along with $55000 in funds (from Just Enough Faith) to continue Just Enough Faith services. The main foodvan has apparently been remodelled, having been deemed unsuitable by a chef with no experience in running a mobile food service.A substitute van, said to cost $2500 per week, has been hired.Initial food supplies were inadequate and quality poor. Food frequently ran out and intending diners went hungry.Protests erupted in various forms across the homeless and volunteer diaspora. We campaigned strongly against the service on several levels.To their credit, government contractor Exodus has raised its standard of food to be on par with JEF services on most nights. Some even say they prefer Exodus meals.But something vital is missing. The camaradiere between dedicated JEF volunteers has been replaced by an indescribable emptiness that is reminiscent of the government programs many of us studiously avoid. As described by one old chap ” The Night Foodvan is our dinner table-we are all family there. Some guests called Exodus Foundation have walked in and sat at the head of the table, ordering us and our regular volunteers around. They have not been here before, and are acting like a bad mannered house guest.”-Well said .

It has been reported to us that for their own reasons Exodus Foundation has lost interest in providing the service in the long term,for their own reasons. Compounded by the fact that the administrator has made substantial determined efforts to destroy JEF supply lines, exhaust all resources and render essential food storage unusable at the JEF kitchens in Rozelle, we must be ready for the possibility that the current service will be terminated- a political risk the State government seem willing to take in the leadup to an election they are destined to lose. When Shell kicked squatters out of its disused buildings, it was done with police assistance and no government intervention on behalf of squatters(only MLA Greens Lee Rhiannon took exception) – they care little about homeless and marginalised!!!

THE REALITY IS THAT WITHOUT URGENT ACTION, THE SERVICE MAY BE LOST. WE ASK ALL INTERESTED PARTIES TO SUBMIT THEIR PROPOSALS TO

 

 HandCWorkingGroup@letterboxes.org

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