Did you know that across Australia, it’s estimated that there are over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night? These people might not be visible on our streets because they are “couch surfing”, or living in emergency accommodation, or sleeping in their cars.
Homelessness Week, which runs each year from 1st August – 7th August each year, aims to raise awareness of the impact of homelessness on Australia with national and local community events, focusing on the importance of housing as a solution and educating communities on how they can make a difference.
Over the past 11 years, annual event CafeSmart, which is conducted by homeless charity StreetSmart Australia, has raised and distributed over $1.5 million to over 1,000 local projects by bringing together local café businesses and coffee drinkers, to help vulnerable people in their neighbourhood.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sadly highlighted the critical role CafeSmart funding plays in supporting charities that provide essential services to homeless Australians. During the past 18 months, many people have sought help from charities for the first time ever, many of whom had no knowledge of the community sector, leaving many organisations overwhelmed. The sector also provided a safety net for many with no income due to eligibility for income support.
Through CafeSmart, locally raised donations are pooled and directed back into local homeless charities delivering frontline services, many of which have little public funding to sustain their work. These are services that are providing hot meals, putting roofs over people’s heads, and working hard towards long term solutions to the crisis.
If you want to learn more about the work of “Homelessness Australia” and how you can help, please go to: What You Can Do – Homelessness Australia
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