South Australians were asked to walk a mile or more during National Homelessness Week from 6 to 11 August in a bid to end homelessness. Anyone raising $50 or more was invited to join The Final Mile together and experience how challenging winter mornings can be.
Governor of South Australia Frances Adamson AC, Premier Peter Malinauskas, Deputy Premier Susan Close, former Port Adelaide footballer and Hutt St Centre ambassador Justin Westhoff, magician and fellow ambassador Matt Tarrant, and business and community leaders were among those who walked in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness.
As of this month fundraising had surpassed $500,000.
On any given night in South Australia, more than 7000 people are experiencing homelessness, increasing by more than 19 per cent since 2016.
Hutt St Centre chief executive Chris Burns said there had never been a more urgent need to provide nourishing meals, laundry facilities, medical care and hot showers to help people doing it tough in the community.
Since last winter, demand for critical services at Hutt St Centre has more than doubled, including:
- the need for hot showers and bathroom facilities has increased by 149 per cent
- the need for everyday essentials like bedding and warm clothing has increased by 102 per cent
- the need for washing machines and clothes dryers has increased by 46 per cent
- the need for social support and connection, including using Wellbeing Centre initiatives including Hutt St Centre’s Creative Hub have increased by 45 per cent.
“The funds raised through Walk a Mile in My Boots are crucial for ensuring people at risk of or experiencing homelessness can find the urgent support they need to not only survive the winter but change their circumstances for good,” Mr Burns said.
“Times are exceptionally tough at the moment, and we know that around 62 per cent of people are sleeping rough when they first seek help at Hutt St Centre. We’d like to change that by helping them to find a roof over their head and wrap some essential services around them, and making a difference to their lives.
“Homelessness can often feel like an insurmountable issue.
“But taking part in Walk a Mile in My Boots is one practical step South Australians can take to help end homelessness and show their support for people facing a long, cold winter on the streets.”