Last month we first met Theresa Mitchell in person as one of our 2016 St George Banking Group Ausmumpreneur of the Year finalist. As part of the judging requirement, Theresa told us her story and her mission in life to help the homeless. It was a story that no one wants to make it real and yet it is sadly enough a very big part of our reality.
After the event, we believed that our audience (who weren’t there with us during our live event) should hear about Theresa’s mission and answer the call to volunteer or donate to this worthy cause.
Tell us about yourself and your campaign for the homeless.
Theresa is a Life coach, Author and Charity Owner.
Six years ago she started her own Charity Agape Outreach Inc., working with the homeless and needy. For those 6 years she has voluntarily sort donations, provided a 3 course meal on the streets to 110 people and 25 food hampers per week for families in need, all free of charge. Theresa has a volunteer group and collectively we also provide transport for people to doctors, court cases and helping with housing and job applications.
After so many years of helping people to move forward in life and seeing them fall flat over and over because of a lack of suitable and affordable housing, Agape Outreach Inc is now expanding the charity into supported housing for the homeless. A 20 year wait list for housing is leaving people vulnerable and feeling hopeless, their desperation to feel safe is leading to greater levels of mental illness and we need to do more to help them.
Agape is building a small housing estate with supported living, and we need the public’s help.
Click here to view the documentary on Agape and the small housing supported living.
What is your inspiration/passion behind this?
When my husband left me at 3 weeks pregnant, in debt and with nothing, I felt invisible.
After a short 6 months of marriage, my husband left me 3 weeks pregnant, with thousands in debt and too sick to work. He used the legal system to intimidate me and had his friends call with death threats.
Lack of finances and no support network meant that the total of my social security payments went into rent and paying just enough to keep the electricity connected.
I couldn’t afford food, so I lived off fruit and bread given by a friend and the free morning tea at church on a Sunday.
Some weeks I would go 5 days without food.
After my son was born, I sort out the charities to attempt to gain help with food and furniture but the most help I could get was a $30 food voucher every couple of weeks. So I bought formula for my son as I was unable to feed him through stress.
I felt invisible and alone.
I believe people should never have to walk alone in times of great need.
My heart really goes out to the homeless, I only felt invisible for a short time and it was soul crushing. The homeless invisibility is very real and tangible as most people prefer to ignore they even exist.
What do you hope to achieve?
The main cause of homelessness is mental illness, and the expectation that we can place people into housing unsupported and they will respond as we do, is too high for the majority of the disenfranchised to cope with. This is why we need supported living.
We are building 100 tiny homes with a communal kitchen, living areas and bathrooms. Every resident needs to participate in the up keep of the estate, attend regular life coaching sessions for relationship issue and substance use and we will also offer certified training on the premise.
The housing estate will be on the southern Gold Coast and will be used as a prototype to the government to prove we can reduce homelessness up to 80% and do it cheaper. The big goal is then to set these complexes up all over Australia.
How can people get involved?
- Like us on Facebook
- Contact www.agapeoutreachinc.com to give a tax deductible donation.
- Contact Theresa on 0414693670 if you are able to help us with the housing estate or
if you are interested in being a part of an Agape Outreach Inc program to the homeless and needy in your area.
Anything else that is useful for us/the public to know in order to support you further?
If everyone helped were they can we could change the world, but it starts with you the individual. Feel free to contact me to discuss. My question to you is “How can you help ?”
To volunteer to donate to the Agape Outreach mission, please visit this website.