It’s been 4 years since the inception of SleepSafe and although it’s growth and reach has expanded since, the belief in and commitment to providing practical support, care, and dignity to those in crisis has not. At it’s heart, SleepSafe helps Australian’s facing homelessness and hardship to feel worthy, safe, and cared for. Having distributed over 108,000 kits (and counting) we reflect on what it means to have a safe night sleep, and how sleep kits help bring comfort to those in crisis.
We are incredibly excited to have just wrapped up our latest SleepSafe distribution, bringing the total number of distributed kits to over 100,000! That is over 100,000 moments of care, dignity and comfort provided to people in crisis and facing hardship. Without the generosity of Sheridan customers and the day in and day out advocacy of their staff for our SleepSafe collaboration, this impact would not have been possible.
For a nation of pet lovers, Australia is not actually very pet friendly if you are trying to flee domestic violence or trying to secure a crisis or permanent accommodation. Unfortunately it is common for those who are experiencing homelessness or leaving a domestic violence situation are unable to access safe and secure accommodation with their pets. This means they often are forced to stay in unsafe situations or sleep on the streets to remain with their companion. That’s why during March 2023 we are raising funds for outreach vet services (like food, vaccinations, flea treatment) and emergency accommodation for pets so their owners can stay somewhere safe.
Over the last 15 years Australia has fallen from 15th out of 153 countries in the 2006 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap rankings to 50th in 2021. This decline reflects poor Government policy development to combat well known social disadvantages impacting women of all ages. For example, for over a decade it has been widely known that older women are the fastest-growing group of homeless people and the greatest cause of homelessness in Australia is domestic and family violence. The Covid pandemic has deepened these issues and currently there are too many women living in poverty, housing insecurity and homelessness. That’s why we recently funded 10 smaller organisations supporting vulnerable women.
Australia is facing a rental crisis driven by decades of poor housing policy and social housing underinvestment, supercharged in recent years by the pandemic and world events. These factors have resulted in homelessness increasing by 8% and 42% of all low-income households experiencing rental stress. For people living on the margins, these factors lead to significant challenges in finding and maintaining safe and secure homes. Supporting someone with all the essentials needed to make a house a home, increases the likelihood that they will maintain their tenancy and avoid a return to homelessness. Through StreetSmart’s Making-a-Home program, vulnerable people are supported into safe, sustainable and secure tenancies, a critical step in preventing and ending homelessness.
Across Australia during Homelessness Week, over 600 cafes, 50 roasters, and countless communities were coming together over their favourite brew to take action against homelessness. This incredible collective effort in August has helped us distribute a total of $159,000 across 130 frontline organisations that are supporting our most vulnerable. Such a vital, local impact across so many regions in Australia is a testament to the enthusiasm and support of the roasters, cafes, sponsors, and of course, coffee lovers involved.
There is often a misconception that homelessness only affects people sleeping rough on the streets. Where in reality this only represents a small number of people living without a safe place to sleep. A significant number of the community partners we support provide services for victims of domestic violence. Women and children fleeing dangerous circumstances may have to leave without any belongings and need immediate care. And the current pandemic is placing even more strain on already stretched services.
“Unfortunately, family violence is more prevalent during and after times of disaster such as bushfires and COVID-19. As a result, we are expecting to see an increase in the number of women and children seeking our service and needing safe accommodation,” said Emma, Family Violence Support Worker, Women’s Liberation Halfway House.
The causes of homelessness are many and varied. Domestic violence, a shortage of affordable housing, sudden or long term unemployment, mental illness, family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse all contribute to individual experiences of homelessness.
At the population level the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare tells us that there are two main reasons people experience homelessness. Simply not being able to afford housing and domestic violence. Read More