How You Can Help This World Homeless Day

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?







Educate People About Homeless Issues


As we’ve already learnt, homelessness does not look like how we think it does. Challenge your assumptions through education — like information from our charity partner, StreetSmart, or national peak bodies like Homeless Australia







Celebrate and Support Local Good Works


Whether an individual in your community or a grassroots organisation, highlight the work they’re doing. Share information on social media, ask them if they need any help or aid and organise a drive or rally. 


Advocate for Local Issues


People’s voices and stories are powerful tools — but not if they go unheard. 

Reach out to your local media about issues or stories in your area. Contribute articles to magazines like The Big Issue, which provide vendors — those experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage — with meaningful income.

Write to your local representative and advocate for more social and affordable housing. Two major reasons for homelessness is the housing crisis and financial difficulties, along with domestic and family violence. If social housing was prioritised and invested in 6,000 new homes could begin construction within the next six months if supported by Federal Government investment.







Donate to Local Service Providers

Help out refuges and shelters that need it most. SleepSafe, a non-profit initiative between Sheridan and StreetSmart, provides sleep kits — a towel, flat sheet, fitted sheet and a pillowcase — to these grassroots, community-based organisations for as little as $15.







Volunteer and Provide Hands-On Help


Reach out to organisations in your area and see if they’re open to volunteers. If you’re not sure where to start, websites like City of Sydney and City of Adelaide have a list of organisations you can get involved with; Volunteering Victoria has set up an online portal for volunteers.

Find out more about SleepSafe.