A student at the University of Canberra will give up the comfort of a roof over his head for 20 nights to raise awareness for homeless youth.
On Wednesday 10 July, 23 year old Nathan Beer will travel to the streets of Melbourne’s CBD to live until 20 July in an attempt to accurately capture the daily hardships of the homeless.
Mr Beer is hoping to document his experience through photography in order to present life on the streets for the public.
“There’s a disillusion of what homelessness is in Australia” said Mr Beer. “I just want to change everyone’s perception. People seem to have an idea that homeless people are there for a reason- that its a life decision and a consequence.”
“(The homeless) are regular people who have experienced unfortunate events in their life that has led them to become homeless. Its due to the fact that they don’t have the same support network and guidance that we have.”
“A homeless person is someone who does not have adequate housing available to them… someone who doesn’t have that basic human right to a safe and secure house. It can include someone squatting at a friend’s house, living out of a shelter, living out of a car or living on the streets.”
In July 2013, there are over 100,000 homeless individuals in Australia. 27% are aged 18 and under.
“The largest numbers of homeless people are youths and they’re also the most vulnerable.” Mr Beer explained.
The project begun earlier this year following a personal experience. Upon applying for public housing Mr Beer was informed of a two-year waiting list.
“I was unhappy with my living situation and thought how lucky I was to have a house and still ungrateful enough to not appreciate it” he said.
By living in Melbourne’s CBD, Mr Beer is hoping to share his experience with the wider community to convey the everyday hardships of over 100,000 Australians. Over 20 nights, he will partake in an extended version of already existing initiatives to raise awareness for homelessness, such as the Vinnie’s Sleep Out.
“I feel like this is a real challenge. There’s no pancake breakfast the morning after. It’s the real thing.”
In addition, Mr Beer will be raising funds and has set up a donation page for non-profit Melbourne-based organisation
The Lighthouse Foundation. The Lighthouse Foundation provides support for young Australians in need.
To donate money to The Lighthouse Foundation via Nathan’s page, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/20ColdNights
For more information about The Lighthouse Foundation, visit: http://www.lighthousefoundation.org.au/