Who are Pup and Girl and what are we doing...?
Pup and Girl also known as Aoife (gorgeous, affectionate border collie) and Lee-Anne will running from Adelaide City Centre to Melbourne City Centre over 10 days in August 2019 ...rain, hail or shine to raise funds for, and awareness of, organisations to assist those who are dealing with homelessness in Adelaide, South Australia.
The what, why and wherefore...
There were 116,000 homeless people in Australia on the night of the 2016 census, one in every 200 Australians.
Living in tents, couch surfing, sleeping out, staying in hostels and supported accommodation, and living in very overcrowded dwellings all constitute homelessness. Only 6 % account for those sleeping rough, out in the public eye.
The causes of homelessness are varied and are often a mix of factors compounding each other - lack of affordable housing, lack of supported mental health care, injury and/or illness, gambling, low incomes - coupled with job insecurity, domestic violence, disability, bereavement, relationship breakdown, addiction and substance abuse, unstable family situations, and unemployment or job loss.
Mission Australia has published a list of myths associated with homelessness:
Our homeless community is made up of middle-aged men.
Sadly, homelessness affects all ages, all genders and all backgrounds. Our homeless population includes men, women, children, families, young people and older people. More than 22% of people experiencing homelessness are 18 years of age or under, with 15,827 Australian children under 12 living without a safe, permanent home. Women make up 42% of the homeless population.
Homeless people sleep on the street.
It’s hard to believe only 7% of Australia’s homeless are rough sleepers, staying in parks, bus shelters, abandoned buildings or shop doorways. In reality, most homeless people are hidden away, temporarily staying with relatives or friends, moving between shelters and cheap accommodation, staying in over-crowded housing or sleeping in cars and makeshift dwellings.
Being homeless is a choice.
Domestic violence is one of the main reasons people seek help from a homeless service. Every week, women across Australia, often with children, escape abusive partners with nowhere to go and no other option. Many other social, economic and health-related factors can also lead to homelessness. This can include shortage of affordable housing, financial problems, relationship issues, unemployment, illness or drug and alcohol problems.
Homeless people just need to get a job.
The high cost of rental housing, particularly for low income earners, forces many families and individuals out of their homes with no place else to live. Many of these people have a good education and jobs, but simply don't earn enough to cover rent and their basic needs. People whose physical or mental disability means they are unable to work or who care for others face additional barriers to finding suitable, affordable accommodation.
Homelessness is simply about physical housing and 'rooflessness'.
Having a safe and secure place to sleep is vital to a person's health and well-being. For some people, finding somewhere to live that they can afford is all it takes to solve their homelessness. But for most, it takes more than that. They need assistance to gain life skills to be able to stand for themselves. Support such as financial advice, living skills training, mental health counseling, help in overcoming addictions, and job search assistance is crucial for people to break the cycle of homelessness and achieve independence.
Homelessness will never happen to me.
For thousands of Australians, the risk of losing their home is only one pay slip away. Factors such as sudden job loss, injury, illness, family breakdown or another unexpected disruption can affect anyone.
So, why run all the way to Melbourne?
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Nelson Mandela
Pup and Girl are just an ordinary librarian and her dog, with not a lot of influence to action change in everyday life - other than small acts of kindness. It is with hope and a little faith that the sheer enormity of the act of running over 750 kilometres in just ten days might be enough to spark a national dialogue about homelessness, to challenge the misconceptions steadfastly perpetuated around how homelessness occurs, to activate a consciousness in others to act with respect and kindness - rather than to look the other way.
And to raise awareness of, and funds for, some of the organisations who are working tirelessly to help those doing it really tough.
How you can help:
There are many ways to support Pup and Girl..
Donate to Pup and Girl run to Melbourne here.
Donate to directly to any one of the charities listed in our blog.
Organise a workplace fundraiser like a causal day/cupcake day/morning tea.
Volunteer your time to help us out - we need people with a range of skills to manage the logistics, and the promotion of this event. In you are a keen bean drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate essentials like blankets, sleeping bags, gloves, non-perishable foods, toiletries and sanitary products to Hutt Street Centre, Catherine House and/or St Vincent De Paul.
And spread the word, let everyone you know about what we are doing and why.