Media Release: 28 May 2021
- New data analysis reveals Australia has the third largest overall rate of poverty in the top 20 wealthiest OECD member countries, and the highest rate for those aged over 65
- 3.24 million people in Australia are living below the poverty line with 116,427 now classified as homeless – a small change of events is what divides the two
- Orange Sky Australia is committed to supporting Australians doing it tough by providing free mobile laundry services, warm showers and a safe place to chat; no matter what their situation
- Australians who are able to, are encouraged to visit OrangeSky.org.au to make a tax-deductible donation to support people doing it tough
New data analysis by Orange Sky reveals that of the top 20 wealthiest member countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Australia has the third largest overall poverty rate and the highest for those over 65. This places Australia behind other wealthy countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Germany in tackling poverty and homelessness (1).
With only a small change in events separating poverty from homelessness, those living in poverty may actually be dangerously close to not having a permanent roof over their head. Financial difficulties, family and domestic violence, housing affordability and availability, relationship breakdowns and ill-health, are just some of the many reasons people find themselves doing it tough.
Homelessness is complex and involves more than just a lack of housing. A staggering 3.24 million people in Australia now live below the poverty line(2) , with data from Australia’s most recent census reporting that enough people are experiencing homelessness (116,427) to fill Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium twice over. Of the one in 200 Australians experiencing homelessness, five percent are ‘sleeping rough’ and 95 percent are staying in shelters, boarding houses, temporary accommodation, or severely crowded homes(3) . Orange Sky helps Aussies in all situations, regardless of their sleeping arrangements, regain their dignity with warm showers, clean clothes and meaningful conversations.
Orange Sky Co-Founder Lucas Patchett said that he’s seen first-hand how a small change of events can change a life.
“The pandemic has impacted all of our lives in some way, but for people who may have already been struggling, it’s now made it even more difficult to get by.“
“Without a strong support network in place, it just takes one or two things to go wrong for someone to find themselves homeless. We hear stories like this around our six orange chairs all the time.”
Orange Sky Australia is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people who are experiencing homelessness, or simply going through a tough time. What started as an idea to improve hygiene standards and help restore dignity has evolved into 31 services operating in Australia and two in New Zealand.
“After pausing our services in March last year due to COVID-19, we’ve rebuilt from the ground up to deliver over 8,200 shifts across Australia in the last 12 months. But we know there’s more people out there who need our support, and it’s concerning that demand is growing,” says Patchett.
Orange Sky is striving to deliver 12,500 shifts in the next financial year, which is an increase of over 50% to meet demand. As a result, the charity is encouraging Australians to help people doing it tough as the end of the financial year approaches. A tax-deductible donation will provide clean clothes, warm showers and genuine, non-judgemental conversations.
“Our donors are absolutely essential to keeping our bright orange vans on the road and to continue to scale our operations so we can help as many people as possible,” says Patchett.
Jasmine Ongley is an advocate for Orange Sky for this very reason, “The work Orange Sky does is so important in providing those living rough with some basic dignity and much needed company. Homelessness can be much closer than many of us think and it is heartening to know that the wonderful services and volunteers of Orange Sky are out there in the community.” says Jasmine.
Patchett says, “Our donors like Jasmine are invaluable; without them we wouldn’t be able to support Aussies who have unexpectedly found themselves experiencing homelessness.”
Australians who are able to, are encouraged to visit OrangeSky.org.au to make a tax-deductible donation to support people doing it tough. https://www.orangesky.org/au-changealife
Could you imagine – if it’s even possible – that tonight, you are homeless. You’ve
got a bag of belongings, and what ever cash you do have left, you’ll need to put
towards food to survive. So if you found yourself with a few dollars left in your
pocket, would you actually spend it on washing and drying your clothes? How high
of a priority could that be when you’re cold, hungry, scared, and you don’t know
where you’ll be from one minute to the next?
The 2016 census found that 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness.
That’s one in 200 people.
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to spend a night on the street, but nearly all of
us could relate to being cash strapped at one point or another. An unexpected bill, a
medical emergency or maybe the breakdown of a relationship – it doesn’t take long
to be in a situation where money is tight. Of the Australians experiencing
homelessness, five percent are ‘sleeping rough’ and 95 percent are staying in
shelters, boarding houses, temporary accommodation or severely crowded homes.
The Next Step
Join us on our mission to Positively Connect Communities. We don’t have all the answers, but what we can provide is clean laundry, a warm shower and genuine conversation. You never know how a simple conversation might impact a person’s life. For as little as $24, you can provide a friend on the street with a warm shower and clean laundry.