Homelessness has been identified as a major problem on the Fleurieu Peninsula for many years, and this March, community leaders will sleep out to address the issue.
The Victor Harbor Harness Racing Club will play host to a 'Sleep Out' for the homeless event on March 30 and it is hoped the planned family friendly event, with live music, an outdoor cinema, food stalls, and information booths will raise much needed funds and awareness for the homeless in our community.
In March 2014, the Southern Fleurieu Housing Round Table conducted a survey across the region and found there were 144 people who did not have a home, including 56 children under 13 years old.
Organiser of the Sleep Out Karly Cousins, said estimates show that approximately 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia.
"Only six percent of these are viewed as the 'visible homeless,' the rest are hidden from view and are easily forgotten about," she said.
Following a forum held in Victor Harbor last year, Karly's daughter Lauren, aged 11, was challenged by these statistics, and in an effort to raise much needed funds for those suffering from homelessness in the area, shaved her long, blonde hair.
"With the assistance of local community members and leaders, and local businesses she was able to exceed her goal of fundraising $4,000, by raising an incredible $8,000," said Karly.
"These funds were donated to the Fleurieu Community Foundation's Homelessness Fund and we are now challenging members and leaders of the Fleurieu to Step Up and Sleep Out.
"We are challenging you to sleep that night in cardboard or a car, to experience what people experiencing homelessness know all too well.
"Help us to raise awareness of this difficult issue; to stand in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness; and to raise much needed funds to support the most vulnerable in our communities."
Member for Finniss David Basham will be sleeping out and said Karly had put forward a great initiative to raise funds for the Fleurieu Community Foundation's Homelessness Fund.
"I know there are many people in our community who want to help so I urge them to get involved," he said. “I’ve been strongly encouraged by the compassion in our community for people facing homelessness, and I think events like these are a great way to harness this compassion and deliver direct support for services to the people who need it most. I’m looking forward to seeing a big turnout.”
Father Jesse Poole, of Victor Harbor Anglican Church is involved in planning the event and said it will help advocate for additional funding in homelessness services.