Our SleepSafe campaign launched in August 2019, so has just turned two. We have been blown away by the support from donors – in particular over the past 12-months – where we have almost tripled (+274%) our impact, raising $410,000.
To date, the program has raised more than half a million dollars, which will help over 37,000 vulnerable Australians who are at risk or experiencing homelessness.
In partnership with Sheridan, the initiative provides a safe night’s sleep for displaced Australians by delivering sleep kits through 296 local homeless charity partners across Australia. Funds are collected through instore and online donations. The sleep kit includes a sheet set and a towel, produced by Sheridan’s manufacturing partners using excess fabric.
“The pandemic highlighted the critical role the community sector plays in supporting the health and wellbeing of our most marginalised and disadvantaged people in society. We are very fortunate and thankful for the amazing material aid support through SleepSafe, providing the high-quality comforts from Sheridan to very vulnerable Australians during a very tough time,” said Geoff Hills, Chief Executive Officer, StreetSmart Australia.
Each sleep kit provides the dignity and security of a little piece of home to call their own, to people entering temporary accommodation. This seemingly small gesture makes an incredible difference to people who are turning to homeless shelters and services at an extremely difficult time in their lives. It also provides much needed financial relief to local community organisations.
“From humble beginnings, our SleepSafe initiative has just kept growing – even through a pandemic. You can’t underestimate just how much impact new fresh linens have for someone arriving at a shelter. I couldn’t be prouder of all our team for their fundraising efforts, and of our customers for their incredible generosity,” said Paul Gould, Group General Manager, Sheridan.
This anniversary provides the perfect time to reflect on what has been achieved through this partnership with Sheridan and the generosity of their customers and our donors.
Many people experiencing homelessness have nothing. If you quickly flee a violent relationship or move between boarding houses, or live in your car or bushland, you just can’t hang onto stuff. So, supplying the basic needs for people in crisis is a considerable expense for all homelessness and domestic violence services. Regularly, over the past 18 years, StreetSmart has provided small grants to services to purchase linen and towels which they go through quickly and Government funding rarely covers. Services rely on local fundraising, or donated items. It’s a constant need.
StreetSmart and Sheridan teamed up to create the SleepSafe initiative as a direct response to meet this need. To date we have raised funds for 37,000 sleep kits to be distributed often in the communities where Sheridan stores operate, impacting a diverse cohort of people experiencing homelessness and crisis. With 34% of all kits supporting Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people.
Charity partners receiving SleepSafe sleep kits
Everyone needs a safe place to sleep
Every few months we distribute thousands of Sleep Kits from Bunbury to Coffs Harbour, and from Hobart to Darwin the SleepSafe program has extensive reach to all corners of Australia. That’s a great achievement but what is more important is every moment that a sleep kit is handed to someone in crisis. It is theirs to own, providing security and comfort when they need it most.
“When women and children first arrive at their room at Bonnie’s they are greeted with the beautiful sheet sets and towels included in the kits. That first night is often the first safe night’s sleep they have had in a long time.” Bonnie Support Services, NSW.
“This amazing donation will help families on low incomes – sole parents, asylum seekers and those who have lost jobs due to COVID and doing it tough.” Camcare Access Health and Community, VIC.
“As a centre who runs off limited funds, having these bed sheets and towels donated to the Townsville Drop In Centre, means we can afford to help individuals and families with other much need essential items.” Althea Projects. Townsville, QLD.
“Thank you so much for the generous donation to Havelock Housing Association. Our residents are given new sheets and towels when they move into Havelock House, and there is nothing that says ‘welcome to your new home’ better than this lovely gift. Your kindness means a lot to our community, thanks so much for supporting Havelock.” Sue Allen.
We Care Team
“18 boxes of sheets and towels have just arrived! Fabulous, thank you, just as we are experiencing the highest sustained demand since we started 5 years ago. All the family support agencies we work with have been run off their feet – homelessness and domestic violence on the Central Coast is increasing all the time. These will be a wonderful help.” Jackie Klarkowski.
We Care Connect
“We support close to 3000 children/year and are expanding into the Hunter where there is also dire need. Some 32% of our requests are for bedding. Of the families we help, 55% are a sole parent, 30% young parent, 37% affected by unemployment, 37% affected by illness or disability, 24% by homelessness/risk of homelessness. 32% of families identify as indigenous. Most families have multiple causes of disadvantage.”
“Homebase is the only Youth Service (including a 24hr youth crisis refuge) in the Great Lake and Manning area. We have many clients that we assist with transitional properties, private rentals, permanent caravan on site accommodation. Due to limited funding, we don’t always have the ability to assist with sheets and towels unless it’s donated.”
“The Sleep Kits are given to our tenants, upon lease signup, that are homeless or have escaped domestic violence. Usually, these people do not have anything or they have left a situation in a hurry with just the shirt on their back. Your kits are vital to our incoming tenants as they provide a sense of care and dignity to those, for whatever reason are unable to purchase linen for their bed and a towel for their shower.” Simone Phillips.
South Port Community Housing Group
Rising Demand Post Pandemic
Now more than ever SleepSafe is needed. Service providers are seeing the fall out of the past 18 months. Demand for support is up across all services as people struggle with debt, rent arrears, job losses, lower work hours, shortages of affordable rentals, and cost of living pressures.
“We have noted a 600% increase in calls for assistance and one of our services have noted 132 new families needing help within 1 month. These supplies are greatly and thankfully received and needed.” Indigo Junction team.
We are proud of what has been achieved but know we need to keep building the SleepSafe initiative to support people at their most vulnerable. You can join us in the fight against homelessness by donating a sleep kit below.