In 2016-17, there were 285 rough sleepers seeking the help of Uniting Care Harrison, which was looking after people in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. This number included 127 people sleeping on the streets and in parks, 115 people sleeping in cars, 15 in tents and 28 in improvised buildings such as squats and construction sites.
The Department of Health and Human Services figures showed there were 1,513 people on the public housing waiting list who had applied at the Ringwood office, which includes the City of Knox, local government area for Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. By 2019 the number of people seeking housing had increased.
In 2019, the Rotary Club of Bayswater, led by its Youth Exchange students, raised $2,600 and purchased 13 Backpack Beds for the homeless.
“Backpack Beds are a crisis measure that give lifesaving shelter; improving dignity, health, sleep, warmth, comfort and safety for homeless people without shelter.”
Backpack Beds are a crisis measure that give lifesaving shelter; improving dignity, health, sleep, warmth, comfort and safety for homeless people without shelter. They are the most awarded single person ultra-lightweight crisis tent in the world, which rolls up into an ergonomic backpack. They offer full body protection across all four seasons, are fire retardant, water and wind proof, and contain a full-body mosquito net, storage pockets and a secret lockable pocket.
Backpack Bed for Homeless is a national registered charity (Swags for Homeless Ltd) organisation, founded by former Youth Exchange student Tony Clark. Tony has twice been nominated Australian of the Year and was honoured as an Australia Day Local Hero by the City of Knox in 2012.
Every two hours a Backpack Bed is given to a homeless person without shelter, but the need is every 11 minutes.
Each year since 2019, the Rotary Club of Bayswater has continued to raise funds to provide much needed assistance to young people and couples who are homeless.
For more information on Backpack Bed for Homeless, visit backpackbed.org/au