Sarah and Bob’s story

3 Jun, 2022

Why grass-roots community support is so important right now.

Sarah and Bob had been visiting Northern NSW from their home in Queensland when pandemic lockdowns closed the state border and they became stranded in our region. With no other options, they were forced to live in their car.

That’s when we met them. They visited our community hub for assistance and we referred them to our Aboriginal Helping Hands program. Our case managers supported them to obtain temporary accommodation in the local area and their prospects were looking up… until the region underwent a catastrophic flood.

Like so many folk, they lost everything in the disaster including their car and almost their lives. They escaped with only the clothes on their backs. We found them in an evacuation centre, where Bob’s health was declining and they were both struggling.

Working as their case manager, we collaborated with other agencies to get them into transitional housing and secured them a small apartment. On viewing the unit, Sarah said:

“I feel fear and excitement. Excitement that we have somewhere clean and close to shops, fear that we won’t be here forever and fear of how we get white goods and beds. It’s been a long time since we have had our own furniture.”

With the funding and generous support from community members we have received, we were able to provide Sarah and Bob with a new refrigerator, washing machine, beds and linen.

To address their next barrier, we referred them to our No Interest Loans Scheme to apply for a small car loan and support their independence.

Through our community pantry and amazing produce donations from organisations such as Ozharvest and Foodbank, Sarah and Bob were able to reestablish some food security. The supermarket vouchers we provided have helped them to obtain essential groceries, personal care and medicines.

Sarah and Bob’s story is not an isolated one but illustrates why our services are so important right now.

We believe that every person has the right to adequate housing, more than simply a right to shelter. We are proud to support the amazing, resilient people of this region and could not do it without the grass-roots connections we share with these communities. We are committed to making a positive difference in people’s lives, and our diverse range of services means that we can provide wrap-around care during times of extended crisis.

Donate to our flood recovery fund here to support grass-roots community support.

Many tracks, one road, sustaining community.


Community Gateway is a registered charity and QIP accredited, assessed against the Quality Improvement Council Health and Community Services 7th Edition Standards.


We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work and meet, and offer our respect to their Elders past, present and future.

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