Friday, August 2, 2013

Homelessness should NOT be a way of life

“Did you know statistics show that 1 in 200 people in Australia were homeless last year? If we compare that to the Yarra Ranges population of approximately 144,000 this means there could be as many as 720 homeless people in our community. Maybe more.”
- Tim Heenan 2012

Homelessness is a huge issue in Australia, but it's rarely talked about. Affordable housing and emergency housing is very hard to come by, even local support services are restricted in the emergency housing they provide.

The quote at the start of this blog post was said by a family friend who has been raising awareness of homelessness for a number of years now. In 2010 he slept out for a week, in a box in a local park. In 2011 he slept out for 2 weeks. In 2012 he slept out for a whole month. This year he's doing the same for the whole month of August.


The photo below is the box he'll be sleeping in during the month. Rain, hail or shine.

Since last year he's also been working to help Swags for Homeless. Homeless people often die of hypothermia, Swags for Homeless is an organisation that make fireproof backpack beds that are donated to people who are homeless providing them with some dignity and warmth at night.

I can't do what Tim is doing, but I will be posting and following his journey. I will also be donating some money from each sale I make during the month of August to Swags for Homeless.

Photo below: Swags for Homeless rally last year to urge the State Government to release money for helping the homeless.

Some facts about being homeless.
Homelessness can be caused by poverty, unemployment and a critical shortage of affordable housing.
Escaping domestic and family violence is the most often cited reason for seeking assistance given by women who present to homelessness services in Australia.

80% of people who need accommodation and are turned away are families.
Homeless people aren't just people who sleep on the streets, they're also people who 'borrow' a friend's couch for the night and those who sleep in their cars.
Suicide is 47% higher in the homeless.
Over 110,000 Australians will be homeless tonight 30% are children.

Homeless people don't put themselves in the spotlight, people don't see them so no-one talks homelessness as a big issue.
Let's talk about it.


  1. Hi Joy, sorry I haven't been round much. I am playing catch up today with blogs. Wow, at the figures. NZ is no better when it comes to Homelessness either in terms of numbers, and I do think it will increase with a number of changes the govt here will be implementing. I am in awe of your friend that box is not huge and to do so in all weather regardless to highlight the cause is awe inspiring. I look forward to reading more about his journey.

    1. I'm surprised about the stats being similar in NZ, although I haven't been to NZ before so don't know what the area is like, house prices, employment etc. What is teh government changing there?

      He's had a hard week so far. I'll be putting a small update up tomorrow but it's been extremely wet and windy the last few nights (80km winds!).