Bentley: youth homelessness group wants you to Sleep in Your Car to raise awareness


Fusion Perth co-workers Seku Moo, Jessie Braun, Neil Curran (front), Lucy Axton and Tyler Cunningham getting ready for the Sleep In Your Car event. Picture: Marie Nirme
Fusion Perth co-workers Seku Moo, Jessie Braun, Neil Curran (front), Lucy Axton and Tyler Cunningham getting ready for the Sleep In Your Car event. Picture: Marie Nirme

ON any given night, 105,000 Australians are sleeping rough.

Homelessness does not discriminate, with men, women and children sleeping on the streets, or in cars.

Figures say 17,845 of the country’s homeless are under 12 years old, 2000 are older than 75 and half are women.

Bentley youth homelessness agency Fusion aims to intervene to stop the cycle, but empowering homeless people into long-term stable accommodation.

Fusion housing co-ordinator Neil Curran said homelessness was defined as people with nowhere to go, and included couch surfers and people living in their cars.

He said people living in unstable accommodation often disassociated themselves from the homeless tag, but it often derailed quickly due to the unpredictable nature of couch surfing and its impact of health and hygiene.

“People who couch surf or live in their cars often don’t consider themselves homeless,” Mr Curran said.

“A lot of young people who are homeless are working or studying but can’t afford a home, poverty is common and homelessness is fairly widespread.”

To raise awareness, Fusion is hosting a fundraising night for Homelessness Week titled Sleep in You Car.

Participants are asked to sleep out in their car to raise funds for Fusion Student Household Services work with homeless young people.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about what it means to be a young person experiencing homelessness and how our community can respond in a positive way.

Those currently sleeping in their cars or experiencing homelessness are welcome to attend, as local service providers including Manna, The Bridge and Shalom House will be present with resources available.

A night gallery will display works that capture homelessness and the issues that can contribute to becoming homeless as well as dance and music.

Mr Curran said the evening was an opportunity to educate the community.

“We’d like people to feel empowered to help people out (and) at the event we will have people available offering services to help break the cycle,” he said.

The event will be held at Carey Baptist College, 51 Wright Road in Harrisdale on August 6.

Gates open 5.30pm and entry is $5, or free for participants registered to sleep out.