Every night, thousands of Australians experience homelessness. I will be sleeping out with the Wollongong NSW Clubs as part of the Oak Flats Bowling Club team.
You may recall my story. A man and his dog alone in the streets of Sydney gave me my first glimpse onto what it was really like to be homeless and set me on an often frustrating quest to help. That was 26 June 2013. John and his dog Carrie had been on the streets for many years.
For five years I visited John, and sat with him on the streets for hours, talking to him and other homeless, and playing with Carrie. Whilst I tried, it broke my heart as winter approached every year.
As I could see John’s health deteriorating, I put my phone number on Carrie’s lead. That call came 22 March 2018. Dog rescue had Carrie and John’s where aboutsI and condition was unknown.
I took Carrie home and subsequently found John in a critical condition in the hospital needing an operation, but with no one to sign the surgical consent form. I became John’s guardian and he was operated on successfully.
John is now off the streets in a nursing home near me, with yours truly as his guardian. Carrie, myself and my dog Sammy visit a few times a week. John turned 72 this week , and photos are attached of the party we had to celebrate not only his birthday , but a year off the streets and his much improved health. How much better does he look!
As I became more involved with this issue, it is amazing to me that a third of those homeless in Australia are under 17. I was shocked to learn more than 105,000 Australians find themselves experiencing homelessness on any given night of the year. Australia is labelled the ‘Lucky County’ yet so many people are experiencing extreme poverty. The face of homelessness is changing and now sadly encompasses an increasing number of women, families and children.
44% of those experiencing homelessness are women, and over 17,000 children under the age of 12 do not have a stable place to call home in Australia
Homelessness exists on our own door step and sadly it is on the rise.
I have risen to the challenge and will be sleeping rough at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Wollongong on 21st June this year to raise vital awareness about the issue of homelessness and much needed funds, which go directly to Vinnies to support homeless services throughout Australia. I will be joining the Illawarra regions registered Club CEO’s and Directors
To help break the devastating cycle of homelessness, I need your support. Will you help me to help me reach my target? Donating 50 dollars can make a huge difference to people who need it most.
If you see someone on the street, say Hi ! You would be surprised what a difference it makes to their day!