While I took this photo there was a 62 year old lady whom I personally know huddled down in a sleeping bag in a park, trying to keep warm but more importantly keep safe.
The problem of homelessness in Melbourne is just getting worse. I’ve never seen so many people sleeping rough. Last night we were at an event to raise more donations of sleeping bags and on the walk back past the Spencer Outlet Centre I saw three people sleeping on the cold concrete.
Further down I saw something even more disturbing and heartbreaking. An elderly lady walking near Etihad Stadium. She didn’t see me as I crossed over the walk bridge and I thought she was headed to the ATM.
She wasn’t. She had hidden a blanket under the bench seat where she was now ‘living’. There was a small wall behind the seat that half protected her from being visible when she laid down.
I saw her quickly grab the thin blanket out, wrap it around herself and curl up on the bench to sleep. When my eyes adjusted to the dark more people came into view.
This is absolutely horrific and needs to stop. We need sleeping bags to keep them alive while they wait for housing. We need more thorough and effective plans to get people into Social housing and support services sooner. We need the system fixed so people stop falling through the cracks.
Some may not realise we’re also the team behind Sleeping Bags For Homelessness, which was actually our first project. Please read the pinned post if you would like to donate a sleeping bag.
We need more voices. Please add yours and speak out for people experiencing homelessness who have been ignored and trodden on for far too long.