Father Chris Riley on Homeless Persons Week

August 2, 2016

Homeless Person’s Week runs from 1 to 7 August.  Currently there are over 105,000 homeless people in Australia, 44,000 of which are under the age of 25, Homeless Person’s Week aims to raise awareness for those doing it tough on the streets.

One in five homeless people seeking assistance are being turned away from vital, emergency accommodation services.  In modern Australia, these statistics are alarming and there is a lot of work to be done to fix this.  Homeless Person’s week raises awareness of these figures in the hopes of gaining support for this significant issue.

After 25 years of working with homeless youth, I have witnessed first-hand, the troubles that these people go through at such a young age.  For the third year in a row, at Youth Off The Streets we will be running our Lace It Up Campaign to raise awareness and funds for these disadvantaged youth.

As part of the campaign we are asking people to swap out their current shoelaces for our blue, #LaceItUp shoelaces.  The idea behind the campaign is that the dangers of living on the street are so prevalent that kids living on the street often do not have the luxury of taking their shoes off before going to sleep; they must be ready to move at any moment.

Swapping laces during Homeless Person’s Week is a small gesture that can provide vital funding for our homelessness programs.  In my years working with these issues, I can tell you that these funds are crucial in getting homeless people somewhere to stay.  Basic luxuries we take for granted are simply not available to those on the streets, these funds help provide a warm place to sleep, a hot meal and basic hygienic products.  As the nights are getting colder, these luxuries become more and more crucial.

Only by working together can we tackle this concerning issue of homelessness.  Visit laceitup.com.au for more information on how to get involved and help Australia’s young and homeless.

Yours Faithfully,

Father Chris Riley,

CEO and Founder of Youth Off The Streets

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