[First filed: August 29, 2009 @ 10:19]
Homelessness in Canberra is a bit of a hidden problem thanks to the cold. But it’s still out there, and one day it could be you.
This media release came across my desk and I offer it for your consideration, either to participate, or to sponsor:
- Cold, uncomfortable and unfamiliar. That’s the reality most nights for many people who are homeless in Canberra.
And when the mercury drops the daily search for shelter becomes harder, and more urgent.
The cold also comes as a shock to the hundreds of young people who flock here every year to work for the Commonwealth public service. It’s the stuff of a million jokes. We can laugh because we’ve got secure jobs, as well as central heating.
But on 11 September we’re going to try and get a better idea of what it’s like to be out in the cold. About
150 young professionals are going to be “sleeping rough” in Albert Hall. We’ll get a cup of soup and bread and a spot on the floor, but not much else.
“Most homeless people in Canberra don’t have much certainty”, says event organiser Giles Dickenson-Jones, who works for Treasury and who is President of Spring, a volunteer organisation for young professionals.
“They bounce between temporary and crisis accommodation, or jump from couch to couch, trying to stay with friends, family, or whoever will take them in.”
“So for one night we’ll be doing what many homeless people do – sleeping in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable place. It won’t be that tough a night when you compare it to what homeless people face every day. But it will give us a rough idea of what it’s like, and help us raise awareness of homelessness in Canberra.”
“More importantly, it will help us to raise money for Barnardos, which is one of Australia’s largest community organisations. It provides shelter and financial support to young people who are homeless and disadvantaged families in Canberra.
Everyone who’s taking part in the sleep out will be asking their friends and family to sponsor them. And all proceeds will be handed over to Barnardos, and ploughed back into the vital services they provide.
Mr Dickenson-Jones says dozens of young public servants have already signed up, and he’s hoping hundreds more will follow their lead.
“Our generation is pretty sheltered, so we’re putting out the call — come and share some shelter with your mates.”
“It won’t be a comfortable night, but it will still be a fun one. There will be live music, entertainment and a late night movie. We’ll also have some great guest speakers from Barnardos and other organisations, who can tell us how we can do more to help them help others.”
WHAT: Gimme Shelter
WHEN: 7:00 pm Friday 11 September until 9:00 am September 12
WHERE: Albert Hall
Giles Dickenson-Jones – 0439 472 603
Erin Miller – 0403 532 339