Homelessness is a lifestyle many of us will never need to face. However, for over 116,000 men, women, and children of all ages from all across Australia, homelessness, or the real risk of homelessness, is the reality of daily life. In NSW nearly 40,000 people are homeless, and each person has their own story of how they came to be living without the basic securities, comforts, and visibility that most of us are fortunate enough to take for granted – and they’re not always the stories we’re led to believe.
Sydney Homeless Connect knows these stories and experiences well, and understands the varied needs, interests and challenges of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Every year, in the middle of winter when a bit of extra care is needed most, Sydney Homeless Connect turns Sydney Town Hall into a home for the homeless for a day.
Thanks to hundreds of local business, government agencies, service providers and volunteers, it’s a home packed with all the comforts, convenience, care and services that can be squeezed in. Some people come for the simple joy of having company and a chat over a hot meal, a haircut, new clothes, health care or even a bit of extra love and vet care for their furry little best friend.
For others, Sydney Homeless Connect is the chance to talk face-to-face with services and government agencies that are essential, but might normally seem too challenging.
10 Years of Sydney Homeless Connect
2019 celebrates 10 years of Sydney Homeless Connect connecting people at risk of or experiencing homelessness with the community, and to feel the rare feeling of being visible, valued and cared for. For founders Andrew Everingham and Peter Durie, the milestone is bittersweet. ‘I look back on 10 years with a great amount of fondness,’ says Andrew. ‘I know we’ve done a lot of good and I know that we’ve helped a lot of people to get on the path out of homelessness’. Homelessness Australia reports that every night 1 in every 200 people are experiencing homelessness and there are more people living in this reality now than when Sydney Homeless Connect launched in 2009, Andrews adds, ‘Unfortunately, we will need to continue doing it in the future’ — and winter makes the reality of homelessness that much colder.
Every event partner and volunteer at Sydney Homeless Connect, from the large government and non-government services to the small, local businesses, donates their time and services for the day. It’s these little gestures of giving that make people feel special, and their winter a little warmer.
Sydney Homeless Connect is coming up on Tuesday July 2 2019, and with a dry, cloud-free, frosty winter predicted, they want to keep the giving going right through winter, and they’re asking for your help to do it.
The simple gift of a scarf is a perfect treat for staying #wrappedinwarmth, so if there’s a scarf you no longer wear, or if you’re a whiz with the knitting needles and want to make a scarf for that personal touch, Sydney Homeless Connect would love to give your gift of warmth to someone on Tuesday July 2nd.
If you can help heat up the streets for one of NSW’s near 40,000 people experiencing homelessness, send your scarves to:
Sydney Homeless Connect #wrappedinwarmth
Level 6 / 225 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Any scarves received after Monday July 1 2019 will be distributed to our partner network, to ensure they reach people in need.
Register to volunteer on 2 July 2019: www.sydneyhomelessconnect.com/volunteer.
– Craig Mack
Craig Mack is a guest author at The Plus Ones. He runs social media for TEDxSydney and Pinnacle Foundation, is a model at Wink Models and The Right Fit, and is an Ambassador for R U OK Day.
- Homeless statistics: https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/about/homelessness-statistics
- Infographic: https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/sites/homelessnessaus/files/2017-07/Homelessness_in_Australia_-_updated_Jan_2014.pdf
- Video: https://youtu.be/TXkQ-5dxoqw