21 August 2019

People find themselves homeless for all kinds of reasons, be it mental health issues, family breakdown, domestic violence and poverty. We participated in National Homelessness Week recently to raise awareness of the growing homelessness crisis in Australia as well as let people know we are there to support them if they are experiencing homelessness.

The growing problem of homelessness

Did you know Australia has 7 trillion dollars’ worth of housing assets and there are 1.09 million vacant homes? Or that housing affordability in this country is deteriorating with Australians spending 30% or more of their income on housing. We participated in Homelessness Week to raise awareness around this growing issue in Australia.

Image: Our Manjimup team spent a night sleeping rough as part of the Big Chill Sleepout to raise awareness around homelessness in the area

Sleeping in the streets in Western Australia

Fifteen team members from Life Without Barriers in Manjimup, WA took part in The Big Chill Sleep Out to raise awareness of those sleeping on the street during winter time. Donna, one of our Case Coordinators from our Blackwood Emergency Accommodation Centres in WA shared that even though she works with the homeless every day, she wasn’t prepared for the reality of spending a night on the streets.

“It was the loneliness when everyone else was asleep”

Donna, Case Coordinator, Life Without Barriers

“It was the fear as I heard the pub close that we could be hassled as people walked past. It was the mist that hit at midnight like a fog and caused all outer covers to be wet, the condensation that dripped from the undercover in so many spots… all I could think was what if I was homeless and had to deal with it another night, another day.”

Local community BBQs let people know we are here to help

Over in South Australia, our Riverlands team provided a free BBQ to community members last week in each of the five major Riverland towns. It was a great opportunity for us to engage with the local community and raise awareness of issues relating to homelessness, where to obtain support and how to refer clients to any of the Life Without Barriers support services in the region.

Image: Our SA team took part in the 'Walk a Mile in my Boots' events and raised $1,337 for the Adelaide Hutt Street Centre that provides meals for people experiencing homelessness.

Walking a mile in my boots

At the end of Homelessness Week our SA staff also braved the chilly weather to take part in "Walk a Mile in my Boots". This event is held annually to raise money for Adelaide’s Hutt Street Centre to help provide meals and other supports to people experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness. Together the team raised $1,337 for the cause.

Image: Students from Berri Primary School in SA presented 75 handmade hearts to our team to give to the people we support.

A thousand hearts to know you're not forgotten

To cap off Homelessness Week a group of students from Berri Primary School in SA were kind enough to pay a visit to our Berri Office and present our team with 75 hearts, as part of the 1000 Hearts Project. We can then give the hearts to the people we support who are struggling. It’s amazing how these small acts of kindness can go such a long way.

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