Currently there are more than 105,000 homeless people in Australia, 44,000 of whom are under 25, and Homelessness Week aims to raise awareness for those doing it tough.
One in five homeless people seeking assistance are being turned away from vital, emergency accommodation services. In modern Australia, these statistics are alarming and there is a lot of work do. Homelessness Week raises awareness of these figures to gain support for this significant issue.
People often only see homelessness as those sleeping and begging on the streets, but we need to ensure our invisible homeless people are taken care of. Homelessness is all around us. People who are forced to couch surf, sleep in cars or those who just don’t have a home to return to every night are the invisible homeless. It is often convenient for us to forget or ignore them but these people need our help.
Now in its fourth year, our campaign #laceitup aims to bring awareness and funds to fight homelessness. Purchasing these laces and wearing them during Homelessness Week reminds us taking off our shoes is a luxury. Many homeless young people need to leave their shoes on in case they have to flee for safety, and to stop thieves from taking their shoes.
This Homelessness Week I implore everyone to stop and consider not only homeless Australians sleeping rough, but to think about how we can also help our invisible homeless.
Only by working together can we tackle this concerning issue.
Father Chris Riley, CEO and founder of Youth Off the Streets