DUGARME Tassi-e knows first-hand the tribulations of sleeping on the street.
Circumstances led Mr Tassi-e to being homeless three years ago and attending Mission Australia’s Christmas Lunch in the Park (CLIP) for a festive feed.
“I first attended in 2014 (and) at the time I was sleeping rough,” he said.
“The event served two purposes – it gave me a place to be with people who were travelling the same path while also allowing me to connect to a bigger world through the volunteers and support service workers.
“And it met a physical need by feeding me on the day and leftovers from the event kept me going for several more days.”
He has since received accommodation, but has returned to the event to be on the other side of the line.
“I returned the following year (but) by that time I had housing but probably felt more isolated than ever,” he said.
“It was the connection to other people and the life I was heading towards that I really valued that year.”
Mr Tassi-e was this week announced CLIP’s first ambassador in its 42 year history.
Mission Australia state director Jo Sadler said Mr Tassi-e represented the community that the annual event targets.
“He has faced such adversity to get where he is today (and) is a great advocate for people who are homeless, raising awareness of the issue and ensuring that our community understands how they can help to support vulnerable people,” she said.
Christmas Lunch in the Park provides a meal, companionship and access to support services for up to 1500 needy people on Christmas Day.
This year the event will provide gifts for children and personal care packs for adults including toiletries, which volunteers began packing on November 30.