Sleep-out to help needy

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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Nyomi, 10, and Ayden Johnson, 8 with Jethro, 9, Zephyr, 11, and Kalgan Simmons, 9.
Camera IconNyomi, 10, and Ayden Johnson, 8 with Jethro, 9, Zephyr, 11, and Kalgan Simmons, 9. Credit: Shannon Smith

Albany’s Big Sleep Out has a big goal to match the name, with organisers hoping to raise $10,000 for the Homelessness Fund.

The annual Homelessness Week event has been re-branded for 2019 but has the same core motivation — to raise awareness and help those in the community who are living rough.

The public is invited to help the Albany Community Foundation do that by sleeping out together in the Albany Town Square.

ACF’s Stacey Murnane said there were believed to be more than 300 homeless people in Albany.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are at least 80 couples living in their cars in Albany and a number also sleeping rough throughout the City,” she said.

“The Regional Counselling and Mentoring Service reports that last financial year they provided 282 different people with homeless services in Albany.

“We have support services that are unable to cope with the demand. Homelessness is not just people down on their luck, there is a host of different social issues to consider — mental health, domestic violence, along with relationship and family breakdowns.”

She said this year’s event on August 8 would have a greater focus on raising money, running on a sponsorship-style model similar to the 40-hour Famine.

“We are really hoping to get a few more school groups and organisations involved with this,” she said.

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