Albany community to sleep out to help local agencies tackle homelessness

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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ACFs Stacey Murnane, Jeremy Stewart, Tae Wood and Libby Corson with Stella Taylor and Ava Murnane, both 3.
Camera IconACFs Stacey Murnane, Jeremy Stewart, Tae Wood and Libby Corson with Stella Taylor and Ava Murnane, both 3. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Locals will roll out their sleeping bags and spend a night on the floor of the Albany Agricultural Society pavilions this month to raise $15,000 for people facing homelessness.

Up to 150 people are expected to take part in Albany’s Big Sleep Out on August 28.

Albany Community Foundation event co-ordinator Stacey Murnane encouraged those not taking part in the sleep-out to come along and join in.

There will be a jukebox, a pool table and table tennis, with live music provided by Open Access.

Support agencies will host awareness-raising activities and pop-up information stalls.

All proceeds will go towards ACF’s homelessness fund for local support agencies to provide immediate help to people in crisis.

“We at the ACF hold that money in trust, and all the agencies that are there on the night have quick access to that money to then be able to support somebody in crisis on the spot,” Ms Murnane said.

Albany Community Foundation’s Jeremy Stewart, Libby Corson and Tae Wood.
Camera IconAlbany Community Foundation’s Jeremy Stewart, Libby Corson and Tae Wood. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

In WA, about 9000 people are homeless every night.

The need for support in Albany was high, Ms Murnane said.

As Albany deals with rental shortages, families have been couch-surfing and sleeping in caravans and tents while searching for a home or waiting for public housing.

“The whole premise of the sleep-out is not to replicate their experience ... we are giving people a snapshot and the opportunity to learn about homelessness,” Ms Murnane said.

“Most importantly, that it doesn’t look like a person sleeping rough on the side of the road, it can be people couch-surfing, it can be people who are displaced or in crisis care or between homes.

“Albany has had a huge rental shortage in the last 12 months.

“The percentage of vacant homes is very small and so is the department of housing — the waitlist is years.

“It is happening in different forms.”

Participants are asked to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and warm clothes.

Dinner and breakfast will be available for a gold coin donation.

Visit albanys-big-sleep-out.raisely.com.

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