On any given night across Australia, more than 116,000 people are homeless.
That figure is close to the population of Bendigo in Victoria. Let that sink in for a moment. How on earth does this happen in a lucky country like Australia? It’s devastating and it’s getting worse. With our country experiencing extreme weather conditions on a regular basis, homelessness has become more prevalent.
Yes, homelessness is complex, with each person having a different journey. From my research, I discovered homelessness is often due to a series of life events and challenges that lead the person or family to their plight. Domestic violence and the lack of affordable housing are the single largest contributors to homelessness. Other factors include mental health, family breakdown, debt, poverty, leaving state care, or leaving prison.
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation* states on its website that according to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the ‘helper’s high’. I know this feeling well. Over the last 30+ years, I have always found a way to either volunteer, support local social enterprises (and blog about them), or find a way to contribute to those in need when I travel. No culture or language barrier gets in the way when you give of yourself. Seeing the difference people can make on a human level is what I love about volunteering and contributing on a global level.
During Covid, I turned my attention to helping my fellow Australians by doing what I could to reduce homelessness by supporting grassroots organisations financially. Due to Covid restrictions, I was unable to volunteer in person. I offered my learning design services pro-bono to a few charities and worked on a social enterprise project (more about this soon).
Have you heard about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs)? The goals were the result of worldwide consultation with over 8 million people, and they recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Find out more about them here. I’ll share more about the UNSDGs in future posts.
My hope is that we are the generation that makes a difference. There must be a better way forward. I decided I needed to find a charity partner who had already done the hard work sourcing and supporting those who were doing real work on the ground. I knew that way I could trust that I’m supporting a charity who is making a tangible and measurable difference. I wanted to not only contribute financially but also contribute physically when I can.
After much research, I finally found StreetSmart** supporting grassroots projects that tackle homelessness. These are community-based organisations that make a tangible difference at the frontline. Through StreetSmart’s innovative campaigns, they enable and empower communities to raise vital funds and awareness to bring about change for people experiencing homelessness or at risk.
Having a safe and secure place to call home is the key focus for StreetSmart and I’m on board.
Join me in supporting vulnerable Australians this festive season and donate today. Click on the link here StreetSmart.
Peace and Love
Janine, Aka Miss Meaningful
*Random Acts of Kindness Foundation https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness
**Stats and figures provided by https://streetsmartaustralia.org/homelessness/
StreetSmart was Founded in 2003. the team at StreetSmart believes everyone should have a safe and secure place to call home. We have an unrivaled nineteen-year track record of community engagement to raise funds and awareness for smaller grassroots homeless services in both metropolitan and regional areas of Australia. To date, they have raised and distributed over $10 million, to support 984 homelessness and community organisations.
StreetSmart’s grant making directly contributes to the aims of 13 of the UN Sustainable Developments Goals.