Who Lives Here?

by Marilyn Kraner, Manager – Individual and Family Services

child-reading

They call it the Great Australian Dream: a safe, secure place to call home. It’s a dream that many, if not all of us, share.

However, as the cost of housing continues to rise, home ownership becomes more out of reach for the average Australian and the issue of social housing has now hit the mainstream.

Insecure housing has historically been identified primarily as a welfare issue; a problem that was thought to affect mostly single men who were ‘down on their luck’, with street-based homelessness stereotyped as the result of substance use or severe mental illness. This is no longer the case. As our population continues to rise, the lack of affordable housing is having a direct and far-reaching impact on the average Victorian, including those in our own Jewish community.

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Reflections from StreetCount

by Cassie Barrett, Team Leader, Healthy Communities

rough sleeper image for blog article

One icy morning in June, my alarm went off much earlier than usual.

At 3am, the world outside was pitch-black, the temperature a chilly 3 degrees. I winced as my feet hit the cold floor as I climbed out of my warm bed and bundled up into a coat.

As I headed into the CBD, from the comfort of the heated taxi I chatted to the driver about StreetCount, the biennial homelessness census I was to volunteer for that morning.

“I’ve been driving taxis in Melbourne for 30 years,” he said. “I’ve never seen it this bad.”

The “it” he referred to was rough sleeping, or street-based homelessness.

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When Will it be Enough?

By Cassie Barrett, Team Leader, Healthy Communities

Warning: This article contains content that may be distressing for some readers.

ImageRemembering the victims of male violence. Clockwise from top left: Jack and Jennifer Edwards; Amanda Harris; Qi Yu; Larissa Beilby; Eurydice Dixon. All 6 were murdered in the past month. 34 women have died as a result of male violence so far this year.

Still reeling from the tragic and senseless deaths of two teenagers at the hands of their father on Thursday 5 July, the weekend brought yet more news of devastating brutality.

In a single day, three women were murdered by men they allegedly knew.

On Saturday 7 July:

  • 76-year-old Jan Garret of Raymond Terrace was killed in a house fire; a man believed to be her carer has been arrested;
  • Amanda Harris, a 36-year-old mother of three, died in Cranbourne North after being stabbed and set on fire; a man believed to be her partner has been arrested;
  • An unnamed woman was murdered in Hampton Park; a man believed to be known to the victim has been arrested.

Three deaths – in a single day.

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The Hidden Cost of Gambling

By Cassie Barrett, Mental Health Promotion and Resource Officer

pokies

In recent weeks, many of us will have noticed the latest ‘Love the game. Not the odds.’ campaign circulating on TV and radio from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

The impact of sports betting advertising, particularly on young people, has garnered significant attention.  This is good news given that recent research by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation revealed that between 60 and 70 percent of children have gambled, and one in 25 teenagers has a gambling problem.

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The Victorian Jewish Community and the Affordable Housing Crisis

By Marilyn Kraner, Individual & Family Support Manager

affordable-housing

In 2017, the issue of social housing hit the mainstream. Described as an ‘affordable housing crisis’, the disturbing images of homeless people in the world’s most liveable city generated considerable media coverage and intense community discussion on how best to deal with the issue.

What had traditionally been seen as a welfare or fringe issue affecting others, but not us, was now being talked about as increasingly affecting the ‘average’ Victorian across all levels of the housing continuum; from supply to planning, private ownership to rental arrangements, and social and public housing.

So, what does the housing affordability crisis look like for Victorian Jewry?

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Why Do School Leavers Keep Making the Wrong Study and Career Choices?

By Simon Jedwab

Choices

People are asked to make career decisions at all stages of life. Whether it is to seek a promotion, apply for a new job, or embark on a career change, choices are made daily that shape the career paths of people. However, it is at school, particularly the later stages of secondary school, where young people are first asked to make important career decisions.

At secondary school, the key focus for career advisors and teachers is to help students make realistic choices about tertiary study and future careers based on enthusiasm and passion for a field of study and employment. If school leavers are entering tertiary courses linked to careers in fields they are passionate about, then why do so many young people drop out of tertiary courses or later regret their career choices? Continue reading

Supporting Mature-Age Job Seekers in the Jewish Community

By Simon Jedwab

 Job Searching

In recent times, Jewish Care’s Employment and Education Centre (EEC) has seen an influx of mature-age job seekers requesting support in finding employment. 34%, or 130, of the job seekers the EEC currently supports are aged over 50 years old.

Throughout the next decade, the proportion of the population engaged in employment compared to that supported by the welfare system is set to reduce remarkably. Economically, job seekers aged 50 years and over represent a particularly concerning demographic. Due to economic and demographic trends, it is becoming increasingly important that older Australians remain in the workforce for as long as they are willing and able, as people aged over 50 are increasingly without the financial security to retire. Due to this, people are often forced to retire later in life. In 2014, 71% of people interviewed in a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics intended to retire at 65, up from 48% ten years before, whilst 23% intended to retire at or above age 70, compared to only eight percent in 2004.

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Let’s Stamp Out Stigma

By Cassandra Barrett, Mental Health Promotion and Resource Officer.

VoicesBehindYourBack2

Mental Health Week is something that should matter to all of us.

45% – nearly 1 in 2 Australians – will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. It’s a virtual certainty that every one of us will have a loved one – a partner, child, friend, colleague – who is affected by mental illness, whether we’re aware of it or not. And every one of us can play a role, no matter how small, in helping to create a society that’s more open and inclusive.

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Mental Health and the Jewish Community

By Marilyn Kraner

The text below is from a presentation given by Marilyn Kraner, Individual & Family Support Manager, at a recent forum hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. The forum was on mental health and social inclusion for the LGBTI community.

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A question we often hear at Jewish Care is “What is different about mental health and the Jewish community?” The answer is both simple and complex.

The short answer is that in terms of prevalence, there is no reason to think that the Jewish community is any different to the mainstream population. We know that in any given year, 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental illness, and almost 1 in 2 will be affected at some point in their lifetime. A significant body of research shows that the prevalence of mental illness in minority groups or culturally and linguistically diverse communities mirrors that of the broader population; we can therefore assume that there is nothing particularly different or unusual about the rate of mental illness in the Jewish community.

The longer answer is that in terms of impact, there is a significant difference. While we know that stigma around mental ill health remains a problem in the broader Australian community, its impact in a close-knit community like ours is particularly challenging, for a number of different reasons.

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The Two of Us

By Cassie Barrett and Marilyn Kraner

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On R U OK? Day we talk a lot about the importance of checking in with our loved ones, including our colleagues. But what actually happens if you say you’re not okay?

Cassie
Mental Health Promotion Resource Officer

I first met Marilyn when I interviewed for this role. I was upfront about my mental health from the start – I mentioned it at the interview. I think being a mental health role made it a bit easier – you kind of assume there will be at least some level of understanding around mental health in this sector – but it was really her approachability that made it easy to talk about. Marilyn’s response at the time was something like “Do you have an idea of what style of management is most helpful for you?” – just really practical, sensible and open. Continue reading