Sleep­ing rough

Time Out (Sydney) - - THIS MONTH IN SYDNEY -

There are 486 peo­ple do­ing it in Syd­ney per night: here’s how you can help

Be­ing locked out of a venue is one thing. To be locked out of per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion – through poverty, men­tal ill­ness, or fear of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence – is an­other. As home­less­ness rates in Syd­ney rise, these or­gan­i­sa­tions are step­ping up. By Lach­lan An­der­son

Walk­ing around Cen­tral Sta­tion or along most streets in the CBD, it’s un­usual not to see any home­less peo­ple. They’re camped in door­ways and un­der stairs; in parks and on pave­ments. A re­cent overnight count by the City of Syd­ney (Fe­bru­ary 2016) found 890 home­less peo­ple, of whom 486 were sleep­ing rough – an in­crease of 33 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year.

The City sur­veyed 516 home­less peo­ple last De­cem­ber and found that the av­er­age time spent liv­ing on the streets was over five years. Al­most half of the re­spon­dents claimed to have ex­pe­ri­enced some form of abuse whether phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, sex­ual or emo­tional.

There are lots of sim­ple ways to get in­volved and as­sist those who’ve fallen through the so­cial safety net. The fol­low­ing char­i­ta­ble groups are a good place to start.

OR­ANGE SKY LAUN­DRY

Or­ange Sky is a world-first ser­vice: a free mo­bile laun­dry for the home­less, started by mates and Young Aus­tralians of the Year 2016, Lu­cas Pratch­ett and Nic March­esi. They part­ner with food trucks to of­fer rough sleep­ers clean clothes, a meal and a chat. “Our model to be­gin with is to have a con­ver­sa­tion with our home­less friends,” says Emma Wu, Or­ange Sky Laun­dry’s Syd­ney ser­vice man­ager. “Re­ally, the wash­ing is sec­ondary.” You can find them daily in eight dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions around the CBD and In­ner West. All lo­ca­tions are next to or near other food truck ser­vices. You can do­nate to the cause to keep the vans run­ning or vol­un­teer your time to help. www.or­angesky­laun­dry.com.au.

VIN­NIE’S NIGHT PA­TROL SYD­NEY

Vin­nie’s Syd­ney Night Pa­trol has been run­ning for 52 years. Two vans travel around the city ev­ery night of­fer­ing food, hot drinks, blan­kets and toi­letries. “We have three parts to our ser­vice,” says Night Pa­trol co­or­di­na­tor Rachel Stod­dart. “Giv­ing peo­ple some­thing to eat, chat­ting to peo­ple and form­ing friend­ships, and that’s some­thing that peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness crave the most.” They can then use those con­ver­sa­tions to bet­ter un­der­stand some­one’s needs and help re­fer them on to other ser­vices. Cur­rent vol­un­teer spots are full for the city pa­trol but ap­pli­ca­tions for the Liver­pool team and the emer­gency backup list are greatly en­cour­aged. 02 9518 0303. www.vin­nies.org.au.

SHARE THE DIG­NITY

When you give to a char­ity you gen­er­ally do­nate things like food, blan­kets and old clothes. But how of­ten do you think to in­clude women’s san­i­tary prod­ucts? Share the Dig­nity is a na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive run­ning col­lec­tions of tam­pons, pads and lin­ers for char­i­ties and shel­ters. Tam­pons and pads are gen­er­ally the least do­nated goods to shel­ters but, be­cause 44 per cent of home­less peo­ple in Aus­tralia are women, they are in huge de­mand. “Women don’t talk about their pe­ri­ods,” says Kel­lie Hanser from Share the Dig­nity NSW. “It took a very strong per­son to stand up and make noise about it.” You can find de­tails of their April col­lec­tion by vis­it­ing their web­site. www.sharethedig­nity.com.au.

WAY2HOME

Neami Na­tional’s Way2Home team are reach­ing out to peo­ple on the streets and get­ting them into hous­ing. They’re a City of Syd­ney-funded or­ga­ni­za­tion who go out and meet peo­ple where they are to make sure they can tai­lor their sup­port to in­di­vid­u­als based on their spe­cific needs. They heip steer the home­less through the process to get into hous­ing

and make sure they stay housed. If you are con­cerned about some­one sleep­ing rough you can call Way2Home or get in­volved in City of Syd­ney’s street counts, which count the num­ber of peo­ple sleep­ing rough in Syd­ney twice a year. Way2Home man­ager Ta­mara Se­queira says that sim­ple acts are of­ten the most help­ful. “A cheer­ful smile, a ‘good morn­ing’ and a cool bot­tle of wa­ter, I think, goes a long way.” 1800 505 501. www.neam­i­na­tional.org.au.

HOPESTREET UR­BAN ED­U­CA­TION

Ever won­dered what it would be like to live rough? HopeStreet’s Ur­ban Ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram al­lows you to have that ex­pe­ri­ence with guided tours of the Wool­loomooloo area, where sto­ries are told about the re­al­i­ties of liv­ing in a marginalised com­mu­nity. A Night at the Cathe­dral goes deeper, show­ing peo­ple what it is like to sleep rough within the safety of a HopeStreet build­ing. “We hope that peo­ple will go on from our pro­grams with a sense of com­pas­sion for those less for­tu­nate. " says Adam Deben­ham, HopeStreet's ed­u­ca­tor. The or­ga­ni­za­tion also runs work­shops and events for groups such as schools and busi­ness teams. These take place in Wool­loomooloo

or they can come to you. 02 9358 2388. www.hopestreet.org.au.

TO‘OK’ IT A VERY STRONG PER­SON TO STAND UP AND MAKE

NOISE ABOUT IT

Share the Dig­nity Orange Sky Laun­dry’s Lu­cas and Nic

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