“I don’t remember the last time I talked to a human,” said a Wesley Community Housing tenant to Liesa.
Liesa, Wesley Community Housing’s Community Engagement Officer was initially shocked by the impact of her phone call. “She was just so thankful for the call,” she said.
Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) surfaced, Wesley Community Housing tenants have become more isolated.
Liesa is committed to supporting the tenants throughout the COVID-19 season. Using Wesley Community Housing’s ‘green phone’, Liesa regularly sends out text messages and makes phone calls to check in on the tenants’ wellbeing.
And while much of Wesley Community Housing’s work remains business as usual, settling tenants into properties, in many ways their work has changed. Just like other Wesley Mission community services, they’ve adapted to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“There’s a different way we’re doing engagement at the moment,” Liesa said.
While Liesa can no longer host tenant barbeques and gardening days, she’s finding alternative ways to connect with the tenants. Partnering with Darren from the Royal Botanic Gardens Community Greening program, together they delivered planter boxes to several Wesley Community Housing complexes. And when certain foods were scarce at the supermarket, the planter boxes provided tenants with fresh herbs and vegetables.
“We took planter boxes there so the tenants can potter in the garden in these little boxes,” Liesa said.
“At Kensington and Coogee, they have no dirt, no ground that they can dig up. So, it’s just beautiful to be able to have these little planter boxes.
“We just left the plants there, little flowers, tomatoes, chives and all kind of sort of things, so that they could plant them after we’ve gone. They can come and garden at their own leisure.”
Thanks to Wesley Emergency Relief, Wesley Community Housing have been able to deliver 120 care packages and gift vouchers to tenants most in need.
“Thanks so much for the amazing package. I will definitely enjoy it. I had just run out of toothpaste,” a Wesley Community Housing tenant said.
“The voucher was amazing, I was stunned when I saw $100. That is so generous. I was overwhelmed by the wonderful kindness of Wesley [Mission] and all the amazing people involved.”
Another tenant said: “Thanks for your wonderful gift you have delivered today – random acts of kindness. Bless you and all [of] the team at Wesley Mission.”
Liesa has also provided resources and activities to children, when transitioning families to a Wesley Community Housing property.