Public perceptions of homelessness - The common perception of a homeless person is an older man with a drinking or drug problem who sleeps in an inner-city park or street. However, we know from our experience and Census figures there is no “typical” homeless person.

https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/homelessness-social-housing/what-is-homelessness



Last night, Sleep at the ’G 2016 was held by St Vincent's where CEO's and others totaling 1500 people were "Sleeping Rough" in the hope to raise $600,000 (approx. 400 per person or dinner and a show) There was a small ruckus caused by a group of people who are experiencing genuine homelessness in Melbourne and these people have been stigmatized as ungrateful no hopers by some.
 
Spending the night out on a cold Melbourne winters night, is a start to raising awareness of the plight of experiencing homelessness but it has ,in the past, failed to show the whole picture.Experiencing Homelessness can mean lack of personal safety, healthcare, toileting and laundry facilities, lack of family structure, isolation, fear, uncertainty, food shortage. Then there is stigma, victimization, fellings of hopelessness, despair, shame, lack of life structure and purpose and the crushing of self esteem and self worth. You don't experience any of this when you sleep out for one night in a goose down sleeping bag and then go back to your home for a warm shower and a hot, nutritious meal.

It is great that homelessness is once again on the agenda but let's try and take it a little further and show true empathy for those who struggle on a day to day basis while experiencing homelessness. People are people, whether they have a permanent roof over their head or not. Do not judge any person for what they may not have or how they may look, but be in awe that they are managing to get by and continue to live in the difficult situation that homelessness is. Sometimes it can be a 24hr a day job just to stay alive. Imagine how you might cope in the same situation. Imagine how you might feel in the same situation. Imagine what you might do to survive in the same situation. Imagine how many sleepless nights you might experience in the same situation. What might your stress levels be like, were you to have no idea if you were going to have a safe place to lay your head tonight? What if you had children to care for as well? "Goodman,Saxe, and Harvey (1991) described the condition
of being homeless as traumatic in itself and as carrying negative consequences for mental health."

Please show empathy, not judgment, for another persons life situation. Show compassion and humanity for those who are struggling at the moment.
 
Live your Bliss
Mairead


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