Homelessness Week 2023

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A Message from Karen

Hi Friends,

This week I had the privilege to go to the Ravenswood Social Justice Day. There were many amazing speakers, but one in particular that I found helpful.

Julie has set up the company ‘Make a Nest’, which uses plastic shopping bags to make sleeping mats for people who are experiencing homelessness. Very impressive organisation.

She had an acronym for how we can help people experiencing homelessness:

H — Say ‘Hi’. A big issue with people experiencing homelessness is that they feel invisible to the community. A kind greeting can make all the difference to a person’s day.

E — Make Eye contact. Where you can make eye contact and show respect, this is part of helping people experiencing homelessness.

L — Lobby. There is a lot of misinformation around homelessness. Get yourself educated and become an advocate for people experiencing homelessness.

P — Be Proactive. It can be really awkward when a homeless person asks for money—be prepared with akin d response. Some other great ideas are:

• Have a list of homeless services in the area, including where to get food and support, and keep it handy on your phone so if you come across someone you canassis t them.

• Keep an opal card with $5 in your wallet to assist someone to be able to get around.

• Keep a packet of wipes or some toiletry items handy.

• Ask the person what they need.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am using the phrase ‘people who are experiencing homelessness’ rather than ‘homeless people’. It is an intentional choice of words to remind us that often the experience of being

homeless can be temporary. People find themselves in these situations for many unexpected reasons, including domestic violence and trauma. If it was your friend who was in this position you would put your arms around

them and love them, offering them dignity, love and respect.

This week is Homeless Awareness Week, what a great opportunity to think about how you could respond to a person experiencing homelessness.

Have a good week,

Karen Mitchell-Lambert