Friday, June 17, 2011

Homelessness is not fun

I've never given much thought to homelessness, I guess for now I'm one of the lucky ones who has a home and god willing will never have to experience it. I've given homelessness more thought since I started reading Louise's blog. Louise works in a homeless shelter in Canada and often shares stories of the people she meets and their stories. Stories about ordinary people like you and I who fall on tough times.

The reason I'm posting about this tonight was because this morning they were interviewing an Adelaide CEO on the radio who participated in the CEO's sleep out last night in Adelaide. The event started in Sydney in 2006 and in 2010 the event was launched nationally and exceeded expectations, attracting almost 700 CEO’s in 7 cities nationally and raising $2.9 million to directly assist people experiencing homelessness.

On the 16th June, CEO's sleep rough for a night to gain an understanding of what it's like to be homeless and to raise money and bring awareness to a problem that affects way too many people. Armed with a pillow, sleeping bag and several bits of cardboard they attempt to spend the night in the elements with a simple meal of soup and bread. They have more than most who live on the streets would have. Last night Mother Nature did it's bit to contribute to their understanding of the problem by providing plenty of wind, rain and cold temperatures.

On the radio this morning, Brian, an Adelaide CEO who participated in the event said that a young former homeless girl spoke to them last night and pointed out the reality that 'Homelessness is not fun, it's not just a one night sleepover where you experience a bit of discomfort like you are tonight. It's ongoing and it's fraught with danger' He said her words (and there was lots more she had to say) awakened many of them to the realities of being homeless.

While those CEO's that slept out last night could go home for a nice hot shower this morning and be tucked up warm in their beds tonight, homeless people do not have that option. Statistics show that in Adelaide:

There are over 1000 people identified as homeless across our state. It is believed this is just the tip of the iceberg. How many others are “couch surfers” or just one short step away from being homeless?

Nearly half of Australia’s 105,000 homeless people are women and sadly, around thirty percent are children.

Most common reasons for homelessness in South Australia are family breakdown, unemployment, drugs, alcohol and domestic violence.

The website for the CEO Sleepout is here and there are details of how you can contribute to the effort by donating and also provides information on how you can nominate or sponsor your boss for next year.

Tonight I am extremely thankful that my family and I have a home and that we are warm and fed. Sometimes it takes amazing people like Louise and the CEO's around Australia who participated in the sleepout who awaken us to the harsh realities of life and show us that we can make a difference no matter how small.

Cheers, Fi

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get. ~ Frank A. Clark


  1. I was part of a homeless concept group a couple years ago for a couple years in our town. Although we live on the outskirts of Portland, we have many homeless in our community. It impacts everyone in one way or another. We have since opened up a couple day shelters in our area for use during the day and extra shelters at night for men, woman and children. Thanks for sharing this story. I think it is great for others to experience this ( a little bit anyways). Kinda on the same lines, a few of our elected leaders tried to grocery shop on an assistance budget a few years back. It was eye opening to them as how hard it is to eat healthy on SNAP benefits. To walk a mile in others less fortunate shoes, gives you a much better appreciation for what you "do" have even if "you" don't think it is much.

  2. Fi -- thank you!

    That I have touched you, opening your eyes, giving you a greater appreciation of the plight of those suffering homelessness -- I am grateful.

    That you would then use your knowledge to spread awareness -- awesome!!!

    Thank you so much :)

    and thank you to the CEO sleepoout -- I'm going to suggest we create something similar here!


  3. Gawd we don't realise how lucky we are some days...always good to be reminded of this kind of reality, Fi.

  4. homelessness is very much in my thoughts as they are many in the district where i live and work. and i used to have them as patients. their reality is difficult, even dangerous. one was gunned down recently by cops, and they also killed a work colleague, by accident... an innocent by-stander!! what was the smart idea of shooting your gun on a crowded street? four cops against one homeless man... and gunning him down was all they could come up with??? at the hospital, ambulances and cops would dump such cases, in total psychosis, and we dealt with them, and nobody died!!!

    they sometimes may be weird, scary even, but one needs to look at them with a bit of compassion.


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