Left out in the cold: Giving back to those who need it most
With a roof over our heads, warm food and a safe place to sleep, we tend to take for granted just how harsh Australian winters can be for those without a place to call home. Here’s why it’s so important to support our homeless population during the coldest months.
Life outside is never easy
We might get plenty of warm weather right around Australia, but it’s easy to forget just how bleak winters can be when the mercury drops. Even in Sydney, the average temperature from June to August drops into the single digits, and even during the daytime it rarely climbs into the 20s. What’s more, winter is also the season that often sees Sydney experience its highest rainfall of the year – with an average of 132mm falling in the month of June alone.
That might not mean much to most of us given that we are protected from the elements in our homes, but stop for a minute and think about those who don’t have it as good as us. For countless reasons they might have found themselves living on the streets, and on top of their personal worries they have to battle the devastating winters without so much as a roof over their head.
Options are limited
It’s a grim reality for more Australians than you probably think. In Sydney, hundreds of people who’ve hit hard times are sleeping rough in winter. An even greater number are forced to seek refuge in crisis and temporary accommodation. But many who are currently homeless are unable to take advantage of government resources to find shelter.
Worst of all is realising that even though the government is taking steps to support our nation’s homeless population, there simply aren’t enough resources to provide everyone with everything they need.
Make winter the time for giving
When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget about those who are worse off than us. When the holidays roll around, you might donate to a charity or volunteer because it’s the season for giving. But winter is actually the hardest time of the year for many people who are homeless. So why not make the colder months a time to give something back?
You don’t have to donate money or volunteer at shelters. There are lots of different ways you can support those in the community doing it tough. Got a few extra winter jackets that you no longer need? Call your local shelter and ask if they are accepting donations. Or you might want to put together some winter care packages to keep people warm – even if they are having to sleep outside.
At Brothers In Need, we are working to make Sydney & Brisbane a better place for everyone – and supporting our homeless population is central to that goal. We run homeless outreach programs, put together regular soup kitchens for those who are disadvantaged, and promote positive outcomes for young people through our youth programs.
It’s very easy to walk past someone who the street who is doing it tough. But it’s even easier to lend a helping hand. This winter, spare a thought for the homeless population who are battling through another grim winter. Whether you want to donate your time or winter clothing to your local shelter, or make a donation directly to Brothers In Need, every little bit will make a real difference.