Celebrating Four Years of SleepSafe
This September marks the fourth anniversary of our SleepSafe initiative. If you’ve shopped with us before, you might have heard the name floating around — and for good reason. SleepSafe is our homelessness initiative, in partnership with StreetSmart Australia. At its heart, SleepSafe provides dignity and care to people facing homelessness, through distributing sleep kits to those in need.
We believe that housing is a basic human right, and raising funds for local emergency accommodation services and bedding products is just one way that we can work towards a future where all Australians have a safe place to sleep. As we embark on our fourth year of SleepSafe, we’re feeling a little sentimental for what we’ve achieved over the past few years — as well as a lot of anticipation for the future.
What Are Sleep Kits?
Each sleep kit is made up of a towel, flat sheet, fitted sheet and a pillowcase. You really can’t overestimate the positive impact that fresh, good quality bedding can have on a person’s wellbeing. Once these kits are distributed, they belong to the recipients for them to keep.
Since its inception, SleepSafe has distributed over 100,000 sleep kits to people in need — with over 27,000 kits this year alone. To put it into perspective, that’s over 100,000 lives impacted. It’s a number we’re incredibly proud of and are always striving to grow — and it wouldn’t be possible without the help and generosity of our communities, partners, suppliers, warehouses and employees. When they say it takes a village, they aren’t kidding.
Along with the number of sleep kits, our network of SleepSafe community partners continues to grow too. If you want to get super specific, it’s grown 14% in 2023 alone — now totalling 630 homelessness services across Australia. By partnering with these incredible organisations, we are not only able to make an impact on people seeking these services — but also on their hardworking staff.
When we distribute sleep kits to our partners, it helps to ease the number of supplies needing to be sourced; saving these organisations valuable time and costs. To date, SleepSafe has saved 13,000 hours of valuable staff time for frontline homelessness services. It’s an unfortunate fact that these organisations receive little in the way of funding, so every minute counts.
Something you might not know about SleepSafe? We like to keep it local. When donations are collected in-store, the funds raised are distributed to organisations located closest to that store. Meaning, your donations are making a tangible difference in your local community.
Who Receives the Sleep Kits?
There are a lot of misconceptions about homelessness. Some of the biggest are the stereotypes many people jump to when they think of someone experiencing homelessness. The truth is that homelessness can impact anybody throughout the course of their life. Whether they’ve been displaced due to a natural disaster, are fleeing domestic violence, struggling with their mental health or just cannot afford a place to live. There are endless reasons a person might find themselves without a safe and secure place to sleep at night.
On any given night, 122,494 people in Australia are experiencing homelessness. Here are some statistics to shed some light on just a few vulnerable communities:
- Rates of homelessness amongst young people are growing, with 23% of people experiencing homelessness being children and young people aged 12-24. This could look like sleeping in their car, crashing on a friend’s couch or seeking assistance from a local shelter
- In fact, only 6% of people experiencing homelessness are sleeping rough. The majority of homelessness is hidden and may not align with the picture many of us might have in our minds
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 20% of the population experiencing homelessness in Australia, despite only representing 3% of the Australian population
- The latest census data shows us that homelessness has increased by over 5%, with women accounting for more than 80% of that increase
Of our distributed sleep kits, 23% of kits help those fleeing domestic and family violence, and another 23% of sleep kits have supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Within our community partner network, over 50 are youth services.
Our Work Continues
With homelessness numbers soaring amid the rental and cost of living crisis, partnerships and initiatives like SleepSafe are having a greater impact than ever.
“This year has been extremely difficult for local homeless shelters and groups. The overwhelming demand for help has placed strain on already overstretched services. The support of SleepSafe donations has provided significant help to our community partners and we are so grateful for the generosity of Sheridan customers and staff in making this initiative such a success.”
- Geoff Hills, CEO StreetSmart Australia
To date, over $1.8 million has been raised through in-store and online donations to SleepSafe. It’s an incredible effort and a showcase of the importance of community. The sustained impact that SleepSafe has had is something we are endlessly proud of and incredibly thankful for. We look forward to continuing our work with our friends over at StreetSmart Australia — and thank our community for making it all possible.