The irony. Aussie homes have been named "the biggest in the world". Yet the homeless crisis increases in every city of Australia, says the founder of national volunteer-run charity Swags for Homeless.
"The weather may be getting warmer, but it does not mean the homeless have disappeared this Christmas - rather they have increased with recent boarding house clamp downs," says Tony Clark.
Swags for Homeless is giving away 845 Backpack Beds to all street sleeping homeless in Melbourne as part of Swags for Homeless Week Nov 30 - Dec 6. Here is a case study to inspire other cities around the world.
"The famous Swags for Homeless Backpack Bed is going to lift the spirits of those who don't live in one of Australia's big homes," Mr Clark said. "Australia is lucky - with big homes and lots of bedrooms and beds - but are the homeless forgotten in summer? Christmas is a good time to be thankful for what we have."
The Swags for Homeless crisis campaign '845' - which featured under Melbourne's Westgate Bride yesterday - had all drivers over the Westgate Bridge see our GIANT '845' in bright pink writing. So big it could be seen from space.
Swags for Homeless revolutionised the idea of a swag - to create the now famous Backpack Bed - a fully functioning Backpack and Bed in one.
Says founder Tony Clark, "The patent pending design was made with the thought of treating people the way you want to be treated. I am 195cm and I am well secure from both mosquitos and the harsh weather a homeless person faces every day and night. We even put Kevlar (10 times stronger than steel) a key lock pocket and then made both the fabric and ultra long comfort mattress fire retardant and waterproof."
The world's only Backpack Bed - effective emergency relief for homeless:
- waterproof / windproof / fire retardant / anti-mildew fabric
- mosquito mesh ventilation
- built in 190cm insulated comfort mattress (fire retardant, anti-mildew, waterproof with space blanket backing)
- fully functioning backpack with built-in storage pockets & caribiners
- lockable internal pocket (with supplied key lock)
ultra lightweight fabric suited for Ski mountains of Europe + KEVLAR security loop
There are over 104,600 homeless in Australia.16,375 sleep on the streets nightly. (ABS 2006). Swags for Homeless can assist homeless charities around Australia.
Mr Clark adds, “It's all about providing a minimum level of dignity to a person sleeping on the street. It is an absolute horror that Australia, a first world country, has this homeless crisis. I am just an average Aussie bloke - enough is enough. Many don't realise that just a fifth of what some capital cities spend on Christmas decorations is enough to supply a whole city of rough sleeping homeless with a Backpack Bed. Festive cheer is great if you sleep in a warm bed. When homeless are turned away from shelters - a Backpack Bed is better than nothing. Charities agree that our Backpack Bed is an effective interim crisis measure."
Swags for Homeless
Founded by Tony Clark, Swags for Homeless provides free Backpack Beds™ (swags) as an interim crisis measure to street sleeping homeless around Australia. The concept of a swag being used for homeless people was revolutionised to create a Backpack and Bed in one (an outdoor all weather protection sleeping unit).
• National not for profit charity - donations over $2 are tax deductible
• 100% run by professional volunteers - no paid staff
• Only 1.89% of funds raised went to overheads (ASIC Audit March 2009)
Tony Clark, Founder & Chairman, Swags for Homeless
P: 03 9764 9422
M: 0411 455 779