Homelessness is a very big social issue in many large metropolitan cities. Homelessness is rarely a lifestyle that someone chooses. It is usually caused by a series of very unfortunate events such as debt, illness, depression, loss of job, inability to work due to health, or inadequate health care forcing someone into debt that one cannot recover from. There are many reasons for someone to end up without a home. The biggest problem is that once someone is homeless there are very little to no opportunities to get out of the situation. It usually only gets worse and leads to alcoholism or addiction due to depression. With cities growing faster every day this is a problem that is also growing and people are really starting to take notice. Norman McGillivray is the founder of a non-profit organization called Beddown. He had an idea one day while walking through a large empty parking lot downtown. He realized that these parking lots were really just large empty shelters that weren’t used at night. He thought an underground parking lot would be the perfect space for a “pop-up” shelter.
Norman organized a group of partners and collaborators to form Beddown and contacted one of the largest parking companies to put together a test run.
Secure Parking agreed to launch a two-week trial in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. They have many properties that aren’t used at night so they decided to turn them into make-shift homeless shelters at night.
Sleep deprivation is one condition many homeless suffer from because the sleeping conditions are tough outside. They risk their belongings being stolen, depression, hypertension and anxiety are all results of sleep deprivation. You can survive for weeks without food but only 10 days without sleep.
“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, 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. We will work with our other collaborative partners to provide long-term solutions to transition our guests into accommodation, education and employment opportunities and ultimately put ourselves out of business (this is the vision).”
Reading some of the comments made by the homeless people who have used the makeshift shelters will tug at your emotions. This is a service they really do need.
“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.”
Volunteers showed up with clothes, social services, and provided a space to get cleaned up and rest. Doctors, nurses, dentists, and hairdressers showed up to volunteer their time and services to the less fortunate or those who have been dealt a tough hand. I think that the most importing thing that Beddown provides is a peace of mind and a little hope in an otherwise dreary point in life. The fact that the service is keeping people clean that need it most.