'Swags for the Homeless' Aims to Go National
8 December 2009 at 11:48 am
Clarke says he’s hoping that the distribution around Melbourne will provide a case study for all cities and regional towns affected by the homeless crisis to follow suit.
Clarke says it’s all about providing a minimum level of dignity to a person sleeping on the street. When homeless people are turned away from shelters, a Backpack Bed is better than nothing.
Backpack Beds are distributed through emergency relief agencies with the aim of improving sleeping conditions and health, and to show homeless people that others do care – while providing dignity to those sleeping on the streets in crisis.
Clarke, who designed the swag, raised the productions funds ($60 per swag) through major corporate donations from companies such as Commonwealth Bank, Bendigo Bank and Geo. Adams plus the resources of his own online training company AVRA.
He says the Backpack Bed has some unique features that makes it an all wealth protection sleeping unit.
· waterproof / windproof / fire retardant / anti-mildew fabric
· mosquito mesh ventilation
· 190cm insulated comfort mattress (fire retardant, anti-mildew, non water absorbing)
· backpack with built-in storage pockets
· lockable internal pocket (with supplied key lock)
· ultra lightweight street tough materials + KEVLAR security loop
According to the ABS (2006) there are over 104,600 homeless in Australia and 16,375 sleep on the streets nightly.
Clarke’s Not for Profit organisation, Swags for Homeless is a volunteer-run organisation with a mission:
· to nationally improve, support and bring back dignity to homeless people.
· to establish, conduct and manage projects focused on the homeless.
· to assist and conduct social welfare and relief work including the relief of poverty, sickness, suffering and misfortune.
Clarke says he still has an allocation of free swags available to give to Melbourne-based agencies (on a first come-first served basis). Not for Profits interested in obtaining the swags can email Tony Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.