What are you doing this October 10th? Here in NSW, we’ll be counting down the imminent hours until lockdown lifts, where we can finally leave our house for something other than the grocery store and exercise — where some semblance of normality returns. Some states and territories are lucky to be living a lockdown free life, whereas others, like Victoria, are looking at a date further in the future.
But to have had stable housing to lockdown in over the past few months is a blessing. On any given night in Australia, 116,000 of us are homeless. Although you may have seen fewer people experiencing homelessness throughout the pandemic, due to the aforementioned lockdown, for every person you do see in that situation — there are 13 more that you can’t see. Think park benches, couch surfing, sleeping in cars, crowded into overflowing housing, staying at a refuge.
The day many of us dream of escaping the house, October 10th, is World Homeless Day. An international day, the purpose of which is to draw attention to people who experience homelessness, and to provide opportunities for local communities to get involved in response to homelessness.
We’ve seen the impact that COVID has had on those experiencing homelessness, and the importance material aid has had — in fact, requests for material aid went up 500%, with calls for help continuing to roll in. Here at Sheridan, and with our charity partner StreetSmart, we believe everyone deserves a safe place to sleep.
So what can we do to help homelessness within Australia, on World Homeless Day and beyond?