A day of kindness for homeless Sydneysiders
Over 3000 homeless guests attended the sixth annual Sydney Homeless Connect event at Sydney Town Hall on 21 July 2015.
“Homelessness is something you experience. It’s not who you are” said Andrew Everingham, Co-Founder of Sydney Homeless Connect. For the sixth consecutive year, the charitable organisation has connected Sydney’s most vulnerable with the care and services that matter most during this phase of their lives.
“The generosity of the community and the trust of our guests are what keep us going year after year” said Peter Durie, fellow Co-Founder of Sydney Homeless Connect. This year the event received a record number of servicer providers willing to commit to the day. Their commitment aided in the development of two new focus areas; the Tech Kiosk and the Women’s Centre.
A roundup of the day in statistics gives an idea of the scale of the event:
- 70 service providers
- 235 volunteers
- 5350 coffee/tea/hot chocolate/flavoured milk served
- 3800 egg and bacon rolls
- 2000 fresh fruit salads
- 850 hamburgers
- 28 dental procedures performed
- 200 dental prescriptions provided
- 20 incontinence counseling sessions
- 200 portraits shot
- 25 letters written to loved ones
- 100 visitors to the private Women’s Centre
- 100 personal care packages donated by school children
- 25 racks packed with clothing
- 750 pairs of running shoes
- 26 hairdressers
- 400 haircuts
- 300 hair care packages
Stories of hardship and hope were exchanged. Plans and the facilitation of a better future were put to action. Tangible outcomes were received. This community was able to ‘connect’ and check up on one another. More statistics will be released as all the government agencies and support organisations calculate their impact on the day.
Sydney Homeless Connect is a 100% not-for-profit organisation fuelled by the energy, support, resources and kindness of volunteers. All services are donated freely. No one associated with staging Sydney Homeless Connect takes any money at all.
For the sixth consecutive year, hundreds of volunteers and service providers gather from all corners of NSW to serve and care for Sydney growing homeless community.
Sydney Homeless Connect, a volunteer run not-for-profit, will ‘connect’ hundreds of volunteers and service providers with thousands of homeless at their annual event on Tuesday, July 21 at Sydney Town Hall from 10am to 3pm. The event offers a one-stop-shop that brings needed services to those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.
Guests will receive free haircuts, shoes, clothes, dental and medical checks, and sessions with housing agencies to name a few of the goods and services on offer.
For the first year, a separate Women’s Area will be available where women are free to discuss the challenges they face and receive personal care items to help them through these tough times.
A Tech Kiosk will also be newly featured and offer free Internet access, a safe place to charge phones, print, scan, and offer technical advice. The Tech Kiosk aims to familiarise guests with online services available to them.
This special day for the homeless is about tangible outcomes and practical help. Free transportation to and from the event has been made available through the distribution of 10,000 Guest and Travel Cards. Sydney Homeless Connect is expecting an increase of guests this year.
Remember one thing
Sydney Homeless Connect 2014
4000 LUNCHES. 500 HAIRCUTS. 100 SERVICES. THOUSANDS OF DONATIONS. ONE DAY. ONE PLACE. FREE TO ALL HOMELESS.
10am – 3pm Sydney Homeless Connect 2014 Sydney Town Hall, 3rd June.
On Tuesday 3rd June, Sydney Homeless Connect will take over the iconic Sydney Town Hall for the 5th annual day of free service for thousands of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
With the support of over 100 donor organisations and specialist homeless services, the community driven homeless event offers everything from dental checks and counselling to haircuts, flu shots and a hot hearty meal, to help with paperwork, applying for a job or obtaining legal advice.
Sydney Homeless Connect combines a full-range of desperately needed goods and services to Sydney’s homeless in a powerful day of support. “For most of our guests, they are struggling to access the resources they need,” said Sydney Homeless Connect Co-Founder Andrew Everingham. “Often times, they are not aware of what options are available or how to reach trusted professionals who can help them.”
According to Sydney Homeless Connect Co-Founder Peter Durie, “When people find themselves homeless or at risk of being homeless, they face challenges not only financially, but also mentally. Coming to Sydney Homeless Connect gives them a safe place to reach the help they need.”
During the past four years of organising the event, Andrew and Peter have noticed a growing trend of guests who do not appear to resemble the common stereotype of a homeless person. The organisation refers to this unique group as the, ‘hidden homeless’. Durie explains, “the hidden homeless are the thousands of unlikely people who are sleeping couch-to-couch or in their car every night. These people stay with friends, friends of friends, or with anyone willing to offer them a warmer and safer option than sleeping rough on the street.”
“The ‘hidden homeless’ face different needs than the homeless sleeping rough on the street. They might have a shower to use or somewhere to cook some food, but they still lack stability and security. Many of them are only one night away from sleeping rough on the street with the rest of the guests who need help from our community,” said Everingham.
When government and non-government organisations connect to collaboratively offer a helping hand to Sydney’s homeless, it creates a positive and memorable impact for all involved.
Minister for Communities and Citizenship Victor Dominello, who attended the Opening Ceremony, said “NSW is proudly home to over two million volunteers and this initiative demonstrates the power of volunteers and community organisations to make a difference to lives of the most vulnerable through simple acts of generosity.”
Each day in Sydney, thousands of homeless people struggle to reach the aid and care that they need. At Sydney Homeless Connect, hundreds of Sydneysiders will volunteer their time, services, and resources at Sydney Town Hall to help more than 3500 homeless people in NSW.
For the fifth year, Sydney Homeless Connect (SHC) has taken the initiative to connect hundreds of volunteers and service providers with thousands of homeless, at their annual event on Tuesday, June 3 at Sydney Town Hall from 10am to 3pm. The event will bring needed services to the homeless community on one day at one location to offer a pathway out of homelessness.
“The concept behind Sydney Homeless Connect is a simple but powerful one. We work to bring together our diverse community, to tap into their wide range of skills and expertise and direct them towards our cause. When we ‘connect’ and combine our knowledge and know-how, we prove to be an effective force in making a difference to people experiencing homelessness in Sydney,” according to Sydney Homeless Connect Co-founder and CEO Andrew Everingham. “During the past five years of running the event, we have learnt that homelessness has many faces. Being homeless isn’t constricted to the stereotype of the down and out bloke on the street corner in the CBD. It’s also the thousands of people who sleep on friends’ couches night to night. Or the family of six who sleep bundled tight in their car to stay warm this winter.
The homeless people we see, and the hidden homeless that are not as easily identifiable, need varying levels of help. We aim to match the needs of our guests with an extensive network of service providers who have come for the day.”
“As our homeless guests arrive, they’ll be greeted by volunteers who will offer support, encouragement and help completing paperwork and identifying services needed to access housing, employment, healthcare, clothes, haircuts, hot meals, etc. It is all about positive outcomes for people on the day.” said Sydney Homeless Connect Co-founder and COO Peter Durie.
“When our community comes together to ‘connect’ and donate everything from bread rolls to dental services, it’s incredible what type of impact this creates on everyone involved,” said Everingham.
Sydney Homeless Connect is a not-for-profit organisation fuelled by the energy, support, resources, and care of volunteers.
Each night in Sydney, thousands of people sleep rough, couch surf or stay in temporary accommodation. The harsh reality of Sydney’s homeless is revealed in an evocative new photographic exhibition, Acknowledged: Sydney’s Homeless, opening at the State Library of NSW on Monday 29 July.
Acknowledged, created by Sydney Homeless Connect, highlights the many faces of homelessness in Sydney through 60 portraits of men, women and children, many accompanied by their moving stories from the street.
According to Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive, “The State Library’s mission is to document life in NSW, and this important exhibition shines the spotlight on an aspect of contemporary society that touches all of us.”
Over the past four years volunteer photographers Angela Pelizzari and Jennifer Blau have been capturing the real face of homeless in Sydney at the annual Sydney Homeless Connect events, held at Sydney Town Hall. The results are art-style images in black-and-white.
“The idea behind the photographic project was to give Sydney’s homeless a chance to direct the way others see them, and for them to see themselves outside of the stereotypical image,” said Sydney Homeless Connect curator, Felicity Coonan.
Sydney Homeless Connect co-founder and CEO Andrew Everingham explains, “The concept of taking people’s photos and giving them a self-portrait is not just about a simple image. This sense of self is a very special and important part of the journey out of homelessness.”
The annual Sydney Homeless Connect events bring together people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness with key services and support that they need, whether it be a hot meal, a haircut or access to an agency that can help. Those who consented to have their portrait taken were given copies to take away.
“The impact of viewing the striking images and reading the heartfelt stories is a stark reminder to us of just how diverse and unjust the journey to, through and out of homelessness is,” said Sydney Homeless Connect co-founder and COO Peter Durie.
Acknowledged: Sydney’s Homeless is a State Library of NSW and Sydney Homeless Connect partnership exhibition, supported by the State Library of NSW Foundation. On show at the State Library of NSW until 6 October 2013. Free entry. www.sl.nsw.gov.au
Connect with Homeless
Sydney Homeless Connect is the link for Sydney’s homeless community to access the services and care they need in one location, on one day. For the fourth year, Sydney Town Hall is the iconic venue to host the event that caters to more than 2000 people who don’t have anywhere to call home.
The not-for-profit organization relies solely on donated services and goods to support and provide guidance to those in need. Sydney Homeless Connect is able to connect people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, with the service providers who can assist them. Additionally, the organization connects the sick and vulnerable with medical and personal care they may not otherwise be able to access easily.
The Animal Welfare League has been involved with Sydney Homeless Connect for the past few years. “In many circumstances, pets are a highly valued companion for people alone on the streets. Sydney Homeless Connect is a crucial program helping not only homeless people but also their pets,” stated Animal Welfare League NSW.
On 4 June 2013, Sydney Homeless Connect will once again connect those in need with the services they need in a safe, but sensitive environment. Volunteers and those in need are welcome to join Sydney Homeless Connect.
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