This interview with Mauricio (Maurice) Parraguez is part of an oral history project celebrating 25 years of the Homeless Persons Information Centre [HPIC]. The project was conducted in 2009. HPIC was a telephone referral service operated by the City of Sydney for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. At the time of the interview Maurice was Co-ordinator of HPIC services for the City of Sydney. In the excerpt below Maurice recalls extra-curricular appeals initiated by HPIC staff to assist some of Sydney’s long term homeless people.
We initiated winter appeals along with the [staff] social club in the City of Sydney. They helped us organise the winter appeal where we did collections; people were asked to bring in blankets and we also did donations through the social club. At one stage I think we collected nine hundred and eighty dollars. The City of Sydney Credit Union donated five hundred dollars towards our cause. With that money we decided to buy, I think it was fifty phone cards, and we went out shopping. We went to Coles and two dollar shops. And we created a toiletry bag whereas it consisted of two brushes, a comb, a handkerchief, a napkin, a five dollar card, a pen, a small pad, the HPIC card; something that was then given to the City of Sydney Outreach team which they in turn distributed to all the rough sleepers that are sleeping on the streets. It was something that we wanted to give back, I suppose; it was just an initiative that we introduced in-house. Then two years after that we did another blanket appeal. A couple of hundred-odd blankets got donated to us and they were then in turn given all to Missionbeat [street patrol] and the Outreach teams to distribute out.