b'WASTEAID|ELAINE TOOGOODOver the past four years with Community Resources, Elaine Toogood has certainly had to balance fierce determination with what she calls holding trust and hope, to get the toxic asbestos cleaned up in just one Aboriginal community under her watch.Because asbestos was used throughout AustraliaI was very conflicted about the effort needed to for decades, and there is no comprehensiveproduce the Asbestos Story Book and the Snakes national scheme to remediate legacy asbestosand Ladders Asbestos Awareness Board, she issues in Aboriginal communities, it has fallen torecalls. I felt all my energy should be going into community workers such as Elaine, the Seniorgetting rid of the asbestos itself. But weve received Project Officer with our WasteAid program, tosuch good feedback from schoolteachers and work with the EPA and Aboriginal Affairs to securecommunity that Ive been really humbled.funding to deal with it.If this saves one kids life it was all worth it! she As WasteAid enters a period of hiatus during whichsays. the program will be restructured and refocused,This is about much more than one life, however. Phil Pilgrim Elaine says its a relief the battle to clean up ClaraWasteAid has now produced a template that Hart Village (North West NSW) was concluded inother communities can implement, bequeathing time. a potent legacy for future generations. GLAMYHS The lack of affordable housing in many rural areasElaine is pleased to have assisted Murrawari Local Aboriginal Land Council to implement an like the Mid North Coast is seriously impacting youngefficient municipal waste bin service for ClaraWhen youre cleaning up In the past 5 years, Phil Pilgrim has workedpeople who were already struggling, Phil explains.through two hip replacements, drought, floods,Hart Village with ongoing funding from RegionalCountry, Elaine explains, Particularly for those on Youth Allowance, weve noticedEnterprise Development Institute (REDI.E). Other and a huge rise in homelessness affecting youngsuccessful partnerships have been negotiated withpeoples stories come people in the NSW Mid North Coast. If hes stillits gotten much tougher. Theyve been priced right out of a very tight market.TOMRA and the Land Council for CDS collection.up, and you discover its smiling, thats because hes got such a strong team.This took 2 years to complete, including setting And yet persistence is probably Phils middle nameup the partnership, the infrastructure, and theas therapeutic for the I would be lost without them, he says reflectively. Theyand GLAMYHS has pulled off an important Big Win inemployment. Elaine also coordinated a river-clean- community as it is for the are very professional, hardworking and knowledgeable.the last yearan ongoing partnership with Communityup for the Namoi with local Walgett community We could not get the outcomes we have without thatHousing Limited which has resulted in six extraland. Resource recovery is level of commitment.transitional properties for homeless youth in Taree. groups which removed waste materials from the river which had built up over 200 yearsincludingnot just about rubbish. It is a That brings the total to 17 transitional properties, 9 in Phil joined The Great Lakes and Manning YouthForster/Tuncurry and 8 in Taree.an old sulky from the 1800s.profoundly healing process. Homelessness Service (GLAMYHS) in 2017 thinking itIts the asbestos remediation, however, which could would be refreshing to step into a management role afterTransitional Housing Support can be a game changerhave the most impactboth for the community andELAINE TOOGOOD years of face-to-face case management for homelessbecause it includes 5-day-a week-case management andfor Elaines own sense of accomplishment, despiteWASTEAID SENIOR PROJECT OFFICERyouth and young offenders. Its been uphill ever since.a roof over their heads for 9 months, says Phil. the hard slog the project entailed.Every day he sees the incentive knocked out of youngThis provides critical time for these young people toPeople dont realise that remote communities people struggling to get ahead, like the young couplework on anything affecting their ability to secure long- dont have the same services as the cities, Elaine in their early 20s who scraped enough together fromterm housing. We also manage a 4-bed Crisis Refugeexplains. Plus, resource recovery isnt seen as their combined casual incomes to offer six months rentin Taree for youth aged 12-17 years, which offersa priority when people are dealing with so much in advance. He shakes his head. They still got knockedaccommodation for up to 3 months.disadvantageendemic racism, serious mental and back.As well as transitional and refuge support, GLAMYHSphysical health crises, unemployment and chronic runs an Outreach program for young people 16-24 yearslack of resources.old. Its a case management model that supports youngElaine clearly remembers the day she was shown people to maintain or secure long-term housing. a large amount of broken building material GLAMYHS has also addressed the lack of widerin Clara Hart three years ago. Realising that Transitional Housingcommunity awareness about what young people gochildren were playing in abandoned asbestos Support can be a gamethrough when they lack a stable home by runningshe became determined to do something about a series of free and popular barbeque events init. While funding had to be found (not enough to changer. remove it but enough to safely encapsulate the Taree, Forster, Gloucester and Wingham as part of PHIL PILGRIM GLAMYHS MANAGERHomelessness Week. contaminated materials), Elaine also completed a waste education strategy to address a chronic lack Looking back over the year Phil says working within theof awareness around the hazards of asbestos in Child Protection laws and supporting young people withthe community. complex needs is highly specialised and demanding.But hes still on his feet.Im hobbling around but both hips are now operational, and Im still enjoying the work! PAGE 22'