“Why don’t they just go to a homeless shelter?”
“They’re going to spend the money on booze and drugs?”
These are some of the most common comments I hear about homelessness, and from educated, decent people (they’re not nasty haha).
In this digital age, we know so much about so many issues, but homelessness in Australia is one that seems to baffle people through sheer ignorance.
We have over 116,000 homeless people in Australia, but unless you live in an urban area, you’re probably unlikely to see the issue first-hand.
There are SO many misconceptions about homelessness. You can never really understand what it’s like until you go through it yourself, and I certainly don’t assume that by sleeping out once a year gives me an inkling of what it’s actually like.
In the morning, I get to go home to a hot shower and breakfast – homeless people do not have these luxuries. But if sleeping outside for one night per year can raise awareness and funds to support the issue, it’s no surprise that so many of us participate.
After participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepouts, I’ve definitely become more conscious of the homeless and what the impact of sparing some change can do for them.
$5 is not going to get them off the street, but it will provide a hot meal on a cold winter’s day. It could help a woman buy sanitary products or some panadol, to ease a dreadful headache. I don’t think most of us realise what luxuries these small items can be! Things that we so easily just take for granted.
The sleepout itself can definitely be quite confronting, not the sleeping outside part but hearing the stories. There are the stories from those that have been homeless and stories from people who have worked with the homeless.