It’s no surprise that here at Orange Sky, we love a good chat. That’s why we’re starting conversations all over Australia as part of The Sudsy Challenge this September, shining a light on the issue of homelessness and helping to break down the stigmas. A recent YouGov study commissioned by Orange Sky as part of Homelessness Week (August 1-7) has revealed that a growing number of Australians are facing financial hardship and struggling to make ends meet. So let’s talk about it…
New research has revealed that one in five (20%) Australians have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, and one in six (16%) Australians know someone who has.
At the time of the 2016 Census, one in 200 Australians were experiencing homelessness, but this new data exposes the vulnerability of many Australians in 2021 and the alarming rate of people who have experienced homelessness at some point in their life.
Challenges over the past 12 months have had a massive impact on the economic and mental health of Australians, with close to half (43%) of respondents revealing they experienced financial and social difficulties at least once a year, including being unable to pay for essentials such as rent, mortgage, bills, or food and many feeling too ashamed to ask for help or seek support.
The study also exposed a worrying trend as the generational experience of homelessness increases.
46% of Millennials have experienced or know someone who has experienced homelessness, compared to 38% of Gen X and 25% of Baby Boomers.
Millennials and Gen X are also more likely than Baby Boomers to say they struggle at least once a month to make ends meet.
Orange Sky supports people who find themselves doing it tough by providing a safe and welcoming place on shift to sit down and connect. We know that homelessness is a complex issue, and we don’t have all the answers, but we aim to positively connect people through clean laundry, a warm shower and genuine conversation. From many years sitting around our orange chairs on shift, we’ve learnt just how easily a simple conversation can impact a person’s life.
Now in its third year, The Sudsy Challenge aims to wash away the stigmas surrounding homelessness by challenging Australians to wear the same clothes for three days to spark conversations about homelessness and help support the increasing number of highly vulnerable and at-risk Australians.
After the events of 2020, Co-Founder Nic Marchesi OAM said The Sudsy Challenge highlights that while clean clothes can make a world of difference in someone’s life, the conversation and connection is what drives Orange Sky.
“The last year has been a reminder to us all how important human connection is. It can be taken away from in a blink of an eye, but for our friends on the street, that’s a reality every day,” he said.
Participants can take part in The 2021 Sudsy Challenge over three weekends in September, or any three days in September, October and November.
Co-Founder Lucas Patchett OAM said The Sudsy Challenge is a fun and easy way for participants to step out of their comfort zone and support thousands of Australians experiencing homelessness as well as the many more struggling to make ends meet every week.
“We’ve learnt from speaking to many friends who use our service over the years that homelessness can really happen to anyone,” he said.
“It can take just one small turn of events and without the right support network in place, you can easily find yourself doing it tough on the street.”