As temperatures dipped below 4-degrees Celsius on Thursday the 5th of August, a group of BHP staff joined St Bart’s Executive team to brave the cold and get an authentic experience of what it is like to not have the safety, security and comfort of a roof over their heads.
Participants were provided soup and donated Foodbank supplies for dinner, and listened to first-hand accounts of what it is like to experience homelessness from clients and residents from our Reconnecting Lives Program and Women’s Service. A visit from local police officers provided a first responder’s perspective on the scenes that they come across daily, while Street Chaplains who give their time to check in on people sleeping rough gave insight into what they experience as after-hours volunteers.
We loved receiving the positive feedback from BHP participants:
“I was extremely moved by the sleep out experience and very grateful for the opportunity to gain a better understanding of homelessness, and an insight to the people whose lives are impacted. I know I will be a better person for the experience and look forward to volunteering at St Bart’s in the near future.”
“As I often tell my kids, with privilege comes responsibility. I now feel responsible to use the awareness I have gained during the sleep out experience to help those in need in our community.”
“Confirmation for me that we are all the same just walking different roads with different stories and decisions along that way that have various consequences, therefore deserve to be and should be treated with compassion and respect.”
“The sleep out was a small step in understanding the challenges faced by both people without a home and first responders. This experience has helped me understand that the solution to reducing the number of people without a home is one that needs to be addressed by the whole community with compassion.”
“In this day and age it is very easy to forget the unsung heroes who go about their work, day in and day out, without any fanfare – St Bart’s, the street chaplains, the police, the ambulance service – how lucky we are!”
On the night, we asked what they were missing most. Here’s what they said…