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Sleepout a great way to end Homeless Person’s Week

TOUGH GIG: Gympie NAB banking advisor Jonathan Urlich and manager Sally Burton slept under the stars in Mary St to raise money for and awareness of the homeless in the Gympie region. MORE PHOTOS PAGE 10.
TOUGH GIG: Gympie NAB banking advisor Jonathan Urlich and manager Sally Burton slept under the stars in Mary St to raise money for and awareness of the homeless in the Gympie region. MORE PHOTOS PAGE 10. Patrick Woods

IMAGINE sleeping rough under a bridge or building with no more than a sleeping bag and sheet of cardboard to keep you warm at night.

It's not a nice thought but that's why more than 60 people slept rough in Mary St on Friday night in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Gympie's homeless.

Judy Brauer, CEO of Community Action Inc and event spokeswoman, said it was a great way to end Homeless Person's Week.

The sleepout raised close to $6500 and gave everyday people an appreciation of what it's like to sleep on the streets.

Ms Brauer said 100% of the funds would go towards helping the homeless in the Gympie region.

Most of the money would go to buying swags for the homeless when they had nowhere else to go.

Statistics show that more than 80 different homeless people presented at local crisis networks in the past six months asking for help.

Ms Brauer said that figure did not include people in crisis or emergency accommodation in Gympie.

"It's a major issue," she said.

"They are sleeping under bridges, by the river and in and around abandoned and derelict buildings.

"It's quite an eye opener when you see where the homeless are staying in Gympie."

There are many reasons people become homeless.

"A number are due to financial difficulties, a lack of affordable housing, domestic violence, family breakdowns and alcohol issues," Ms Brauer said.

Community groups are lobbying all tiers of government for a homeless shelter in Gympie.

"We like to see a long-term solution," Ms Brauer said.

"All the money raised won't necessarily go towards swags.

"Over time we would like to build up funds for accommodation but 100% of funds will be used to assist homeless people.

"The night was a great success and if anybody wishes to donate it's still not too late.

"Next year will be bigger and better. We will never give up."

Anyone who would like to donate money for the homeless can ring 5482 8959.

DEFINE IT

Definition of homelessness.

Primary homelessness includes all people without a 'roof over their head'. This means people who are living on the streets, sleeping in parks, squatting in derelict buildings or using cars or trains as temporary shelter.

Secondary homelessness includes people who frequently move from one type of shelter to another. This includes people living in homeless services, hostels, people staying with other households who have no home of their own.

Tertiary homelessness refers to people who live in boarding houses on a medium to long-term basis (more than 13 weeks), and do not have 'self-contained facilities', for example, they do not have their own bathroom or kitchen. They also don't have the security provided by a lease.

Gympie Times

Topics:  homelessness




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