The theme of this year’s National Homeless Prevention Week is ‘Step up’. The theme is designed to challenge individuals, organisations, the community and the government to ‘Step up’ and help prevent and end homelessness in the region.
During the official week, Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th of August, Nat Spary, Coordinator of The BASE Soup Kitchen and Jon Martlew, Coordinator of Rosies, Friends on the Street, Toowoomba Branch, are taking on this challenge by sleeping and living on the streets.
For Nat, this will not be the first time he has been homeless, as he experienced homelessness as a young person due to family breakdown, and fleeing family violence.
“It was something I had to do for my safety, but I didn’t have anywhere safe to run,” Nat said.
Nat wants to dispel the myth of homelessness – that it’s the result of personal choices.
“I often find working with Toowoomba’s homeless that it’s a young person who’s parent has developed a brain injury after a car accident, a women fleeing domestic violence, a family whose main income winner just lost their job, or a person who has been separated or lost a loved one.”
“Life happens and it can happen to anyone.”
Nat is hoping to not only raise awareness of homelessness but funds to keep the BASE Soup Kitchen open.
Nat said there has never been a more urgent time to give to the BASE Soup Kitchen as they have lost their major funding and need the communities support to keep their doors open.
“We are Toowoomba’s only soup kitchen and for those doing it tough, particularly the homeless without kitchen facilities, we are sometimes the only meal they have for the day.”
“We are worried about the effects this will have on the health and wellbeing of individuals who access our services, as well as our city, if we have to close down. Worldwide research shows that people who are fed are less likely to engage in crime and other anti-social behaviour,” said Nat
For the past 22 years, the BASE Soup Kitchen has been providing free lunch time meals, support services and a friendly face to people in need.To help keep the BASE Soup Kitchen open visit www.homelessforaweek.com.au. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.