Homelessness is never a choice but often due to just one, or a series of unfortunate events such as debt, illness, loss of a job, inability to find work because of bad health, inadequate or no healthcare and no money to pay rent or mortgage.
With no place to go, the streets or bush become their only alternative where they become one of thousands, sleeping when and where they can, searching for food in the trash and seemingly invisible to the passing crowds.
Unfortunately, for those who can’t get out of this situation quickly, it only gets worse from there on.
Norman McGillivray, founder of non-profit Beddown, had a light-bulb moment walking through an empty parking lot one night and saw the perfect space for a ‘pop-up’ shelter.
With loads of planning, willing partners and collaborators, Beddown was ready to give the idea a go.
The organization asked one of the largest car park operators, Secure Parking, and they agreed to launch a two-week trial in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Beddown’s aim is to use places only used during daytime and standing empty at night and turning them into safe and secure shelters for the homeless overnight.
Sleep deprivation is one condition many homeless people suffer from since they are constantly at risk of having the little they have being stolen.
Depression, diabetes, hypertension, memory loss are just a few of the conditions as a result of living rough. During the trial, Beddown provided additional services to the guests, including doctors, nurses, dentists, and hairdressers.
They also helped provide social services, gave them new clothing, and a place to clean themselves.
One Beddown Instagram post said:
“It was great to start bringing the Beddown vision to life last night with a group of our awesome volunteers for the Dry Run.
Thank you to our awesome group of volunteers who came in late on a Saturday night to help us trial and set-up some beds.
Although as expected we had a few challenges to overcome, it was awesome to start bringing Beddown to life.
Beddown will provide an immediate response for those who sleep rough to access safe, secure shelter and access to a comfy bed and a great night’s sleep.
We will work with our other collaborative partners to provide long term solutions to transition our guests into accommodation, education and employment opportunities and ultimately put ourselves out of business (this is the vision).
A few of many comments from those who were part of the trial had this to say of their experience:
“After spending the week here, having a good sleep at night and a routine, it reminded me of life and I booked myself into Rehab for 6 months.”
“Being able to sleep all night and away from drugs, I’m clearer in the day and have not used drugs for 8 days.”
“It’s the first time I have had a dream in years.”
“I don’t have to watch my back here.”