By Elias Marat
Around the world, the problem of homelessness has only grown over the last several years. The roots of the problem are social in nature: rising housing prices in large cities are leading to mass evictions and displacing communities, while poor access to health care and medical health services overlaps with a number of other public health crises.
To make matters worse, once people end up without housing—by and large through no fault of their own—they are at the mercy of not only society in general, but a number of brutal health risks such as exposure to weather and disease. Homelessness is often the beginning of a never-ending cycle that either leads to, or is accompanied by, mental disorders, untreated medical issues, substance abuse, and complete social isolation.
In Australia, the latest census data shows that the problem of a growing unhoused population has increased in recent years. As a result, many are forced to sleep in the streets under improvised dwellings and tents or find themselves in severely overcrowded dwellings hardly fit for human habitation.
With these horrible conditions affecting an increasing number of people, charity group Beddown has devoted itself to creating new spaces for people in need—especially those “spaces that are commonly used and busy during the day but at night are left vacant or empty,” according to their website.
Continuing, the charity group explained:
Beddown then activates and repurposes the space at night into pop-up accommodation to ensure the homeless, those who are sleeping rough are then able to come and get into a bed at night.
Such spaces include vacant office building parking lots. So Beddown partnered with major parking garage operator Secure Parking to launch a two-week trial in Brisbane where a parking garage is converted into a housing facility where homeless people can get some much-needed rest and refuge.
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Some time lapse footage of us setting up some of our beds for our guests ❤️ Thanks to @cossdog16 for capturing our set up. #homelessness #homeless #streetlife #storyofthestreet #beds #globalshift #queensland #brisbane #nsw #sydney #victoria #melbourne #southaustralia #adelaide #westernaustralia #perth #northernterritory #darwin #tasmania #australia #nonprofit #selfesteem #community #usa #uk #quality #endhomelessness #timelapse
The primary aim is to allow people without housing to get a good night’s rest. Many homeless people suffer from sleep deprivation due to their harsh living conditions, which the charity notes can lead to myriad problems, including: depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, memory loss, and impaired cognitive functioning that can lead to substance abuse disorders.
The charity also provides some key services to restore the dignity of its “guests,” including dentists, doctors, nurses, and a hairdresser. Guests are also given access to social services.
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It was great to start bringing the Beddown vision to life last night with a group of our awesome volunteers for the Dry Run. Thank you to our awesome group of volunteers who came in late on a Saturday night to help us trial and set-up some beds. Although as expected we had a few challenges to overcome, but it was awesome to start bringing Beddown to life. Thank you also to one of our many awesome collaborators @sunny_street_ for popping in to see what we are looking to achieve, thanks Sonia 🧡 Beddown will provide an immediate response for those who sleep rough to access a safe, secure shelter and access to a comfy bed and a great nights sleep. We will work with our other collaborative partners to provide longer term solutions to transition our guests into accommodation, education and employment opportunities and ultimately put ourselves out of business (this is the vision). Last night was the first important step towards this vision. The great news is we have now been given 8 weeks at the Beddown venue to help our most vulnerable with the view of a longer term engagement. For those of our awesome Beddown community who would like to be involved in volunteering please fill in our volunteer expression of interest form (see link in bio) We believe everyone deserves a bed to sleep in! #homelessness #homeless #advocate #everyonedeservesabed #beds #globalshift #queensland #brisbane #nsw #sydney #victoria #melbourne #southaustralia #adelaide #westernaustralia #perth #northernterritory #darwin #tasmania #australia #nonprofit #gofundme #community #usa #uk #quality #endhomelessness #dryrun
In one post, the creators of Beddown wrote:
We will look to get as close as we can to a proper comfortable bed to provide the homeless with a great night’s sleep is our ultimate goal. Sleep deprivation is a massive issue for our homeless, so being in a place that offers shelter and is safe, secure and comfortable we believe will have a big impact on those who use Beddown.
The concept has been warmly greeted by guests who stayed at the initial Beddown pilot and trial spaces, with over 40 guests staying at pop-up accommodations through the duration of the pilot and all guests saying that they felt safe during the stay. The guests also rated their beds 4.5 out of 5, on average, while also rating their sleep at the same level.
The charity also said:
Although as expected we had a few challenges to overcome, it was awesome to start bringing Beddown to life … Beddown will provide an immediate response for those who sleep rough to access safe, secure shelter and access to a comfy bed and a great night’s sleep.
The charity has also shared some of the positive outcomes from their pilot project, including these comments from participants who stayed with Beddown for the duration of the trial:
- It’s the first time I have had a dream in years.”
- “After spending the week here, having a good sleep at night and a routine, it reminded me of life and I booked myself into rehab for 6 months.”
- “Being able to sleep all night and away from drugs, I’m clearer in the day and have not used drugs for 8 days.”
- “I don’t have to watch my back here.”
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Here are some initial Statistics and Outcomes from the Pilot: 41 guests used Beddown over the duration of the Pilot. 77% male 23% female guests Sleep rated on average – 4.5 out of 5 Beds rated on average – 4.5 out of 5 100% of guests said they felt safe during their stay. Multiple services accessed by guests – Dr & Nurse, Dentist, Hairdresser, New clothing and Social Services. The most guests turned away in one night due to capacity was 9. The youngest person who tried to access Beddown was just 15 years old. Positive outcomes: “After spending the week here, having a good sleep at night and a routine, it reminded me of life and I booked myself into Rehab for 6 months”. “Being able to sleep all night and away from drugs I’m clearer in the day and have not used drugs for 8 days”. “It’s the first time I have had a dream in years” “I don’t have to watch my back here” A Female guest found employment due to being able to sleep safely at night and able to work during the day. More data being accessed and will be shared soon. This is just the beginning! We now need support from Corporate, Government and the Public to make Beddown a sustainable operation and allow us to roll out across Australia to really help change and save lives. #homelessness #homeless #streetlife #storyofthestreet #beds #globalshift #queensland #brisbane #nsw #sydney #victoria #melbourne #southaustralia #adelaide #westernaustralia #perth #northernterritory #darwin #tasmania #australia #nonprofit #selfesteem #community #usa #uk #quality #endhomelessness #lifechanger
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