Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton youth to sleep rough for homelessness awareness

Youth homelessness will be in the spotlight at Shepparton's Go Without Your Bed event, which will see residents sleep rough at Wesley Hall.

JENNA BISHOP April 8, 2014 3:53am

(Back) Jim Gow, Damien Stevens, (middle) Ronni Druitt, Leah Farnham, Jess Kirwin, Jamie Lea, Emmi Menzie, Jess Peters, (front) Aidan Peters and Dallas Peters.


Swapping a cosy, warm bed for grass or wooden floors might not sound appealing, but several people will tomorrow night for a special event.

Go Without Your Bed asks people to sleep rough for the night at Wesley Hall to raise awareness for youth homelessness.

UnitingCare Cutting Edge community development worker Damien Stevens said the sleepout wasn’t just about people who were homeless, but also those who couch-surfed or had no permanent housing.

‘‘It’s to raise awareness of the 26000 young people that go without a bed each night,’’ he said.

The sleepout is part of National Youth Week, which runs from April 4 to 13.

UnitingCare Cutting Edge and Word and Mouth along with headspace Shepparton and The Bridge Youth Service will have representatives at the event.

Mr Stevens said the event did not aim to make light of people who were homeless, but would encourage people to experience sleeping rough in a safe environment.

‘‘Whether they’re sleeping on the hard floor of Wesley Hall, the carpeted Sacred Space or outside in the carpark, we really want people to experience sleeping rough and think about what it means to go without,’’ he said.

People sleeping rough are encouraged to bring warm clothes, a pillow and sleeping bag or doona.

There will be entertainment, including music, DVDs and arts and crafts and a light breakfast will also be available.

The Go Without Your Bed sleepout will run from 7.30pm tomorrow until 7.30am on Thursday at UnitingCare Cutting Edge’s Wesley Hall, 136 Maude St. Parent/guardian permission is required if under 18 years old.

A barbecue raising awareness for Youth Homelessness Matters Day will also be in Maude St Mall tomorrow from noon to 2pm.

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