Checking out the swags for homeless are (back) Judy Brauer, Georgianna Manthey and Andrea Matthews and (front) Jess Groves.
Checking out the swags for homeless are (back) Judy Brauer, Georgianna Manthey and Andrea Matthews and (front) Jess Groves. Tanya Easterby

Community sleep out raises $15k for Gympie's homeless

A COLD night out sleeping under cardboard in Mary St has raised $15,500 for Gympie's homeless.

Community Action Inc chief executive officer Judy Brauer, who organised the community sleep out, was blown away by community support.

More than 90 people slept out in Mary St in August to help raise the $15,500.

Ms Brauer said at the time they expected 20 people to raise about $2000.

"It was fantastic it exceeded all our expectations," Ms Brauer said.

The organisation has just bought the first shipment of swags to hand out to homeless people who can't find emergency accommodation.

The swags, valued at $90 each, have arrived at the right time with the wet season.

They come in a backpack form and provide all weather protection.

Ms Brauer said there were about 80 people classified as homeless in the Gympie area.

The number includes people sleeping rough under buildings and bridges, living in cars or tents or couch surfing at friends and relatives homes.

"So far we have purchased 20 swags," Ms Brauer said.

"We can't store much more than that."

"It allows us to give people something when there is no where else to go."

Community Action Inc is in discussion to see what to do with the rest of the money raised.

Ms Brauer said they wanted to keep some funds for crisis care but the end goal was to eventually build a homeless shelter.

She said a shelter would be good news for Gympie.

"A lot of people are living week to week and it only takes one thing, like a medical problem, to tip the scales and lead to homelessness," Ms Brauer said.

The group thanked everyone involved in the sleep out who supported the event and donated funds.

Ms Brauer said the event would be bigger and better next year and hopefully raise more money for the homeless.

Gympie Times