Community jumps into action on homelessness
AS THE cold snap sends the mercury plummeting, many take for granted the knowledge a warm meal and bed wait after a day's work.
Sadly, for many in the Gympie region, just knowing when and where their next warm meal or place to sleep will be is a daily struggle.
To help combat what is easily a hidden problem, Community Action Gympie is hosting its third annual Community Action Sleepout to tackle homelessness.
This year's sleepout, taking place in early August at the Gympie Civic Centre Stage, is a chance for Gympie businesses and community groups to challenge each other for a common cause.
And the bar has been set. The last two sleepouts have raised a combined total of $32,859 - essential funding going a long way towards helping those facing a homeless crisis find their feet again.
Community Action Gympie CEO Judy Brauer wants to push this total even higher, and believes friendly rivalry between groups and businesses will be the key.
"Challenge your friends, work mates or other business people to raise money towards this great cause," she said.
Funds raised from the event will be directed towards creating more facilities for homeless people; a place to rest, gather support and make the necessary moves towards a brighter future.
The long term goal in Gympie is to provide additional crisis accommodation in Gympie.
But in the short term, what people need are resources to meet their immediate needs. To date, 96 swags, providing bedding and warmth for those sleeping rough, have been distributed to those most in need.
The sleepout on Friday, August 7 is more than just a fundraiser. It is a chance for participants to experience one night sleeping rough on the street.
Through understanding the struggle, organisers hope the hidden nature of the problem can start to see the light of day.
Registrations for the Community Action Sleepout are being taken now and close on July 30.
Quick facts The scope of homelessness can be hard to grasp as it is a hidden issue largely out of sight.
Community Action Gympie conducted a survey in October last year involving 110 people who were homeless.
The findings included:
52 males and 58 females were homeless
There were 14 families
44 children were impacted
Ages ranged from 69 down to six months
Respondents were either rough sleeping or couch surfing at the homes of family and friends
To take part, head to communityactiongympie.com.au or phone 54828959, sign up and start collecting donations.
Those who cannot sleep out can still help. Make a donation at the Community Action Gympie website by clicking on the Give Now option.