It’s 7.00am on a Friday morning. It’s cold and the sun is still sluggishly attempting to light up the day.
Members of Adelaide City Rotaract Club and the Adelaide Light Rotary Club meet on the corner of South Terrace and East Terrace to Walk a Mile or more…
Every year, the South Australian community come together to raise money for the Hutt Street Centre, a homelessness support service and day centre that works closely with the local community. Each year the Hutt St Centre serves up to 40,000 meals and offers support services to nearly 2,000 people. They offer social work services, hot meals, showers, laundry facilities, education, training, legal aid and assistance finding housing for close to 200 people a day!
The “Walk a Mile in My Boots” event is a long-standing fundraising event for the Hutt St Centre, Adelaide Light Rotary Club have been involved since the very first event and we’ve been joining them for the event for the past few years and it’s one of the best mornings of the year. We get to come together as a community, raise some money and think about the everyday experiences of people experiencing homelessness.
“Homelessness can and does happen to anyone…”
This is the message Hutt St Centre share with the community, homelessness isn’t punishment for bad decision making – it’s a reality of circumstances, a situation that can happen to anyone.
At the last census in Australia, over 116,000 people were counted as homeless. That figure had risen by 13.7% in five years according to Homelessness Australia. That represents 1 in 200 people. Of those people, 60% are under 35 years old and 17,845 were children under the age of 12. In South Australia, there are approximately 6,000 homeless individuals.
Our image and idea of homelessness is the person sleeping on the street, in a park, on a bench – but rough sleepers make up only 7% of the homeless population. People without stable accommodation, couch surfing, staying in shelters and motels and other temporary accommodation make up the majority of people considered homeless. This is an issue that is a lot closer to us than many of us realise. How many people do you know that have had to stay at a friend or family member’s house for a few weeks when things were rough? I would bet a fair few of us. Some of us may have even be those people. This is why we were out there, and this is why the Hutt St Centre matters. Because homelessness isn’t just a vague concept or a statistic, it’s a stark reality for a greater number of people than we realise.
The Adelaide Light Rotary Club team, which has several members from the Adelaide City Rotaract Club, raised over $2,500 dollars for the Hutt Street Centre and were in the top 10% of all fundraising teams. On the morning of the Walk a Mile Challenge, over $590,000 had been raised for the centre and donations are still coming in. When you put that into perspective, $30 is enough to provide one person hot meals for 2 weeks. I’ll let you do the maths but, $590,000 is a lot of egg and bacon rolls!
Thank you so much to the Adelaide Light Rotarians and Adelaide City Rotaractors who got out in the cold for this worth while cause, can’t wait for more collaborations and to get out again for the Hutt Street Centre in 2021!
Written by Bernie.