Rockingham locals are banding together to make a material difference to the lives of locals who are rough sleeping or experiencing homelessness.
Inspire by the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, the Salvation Army in Rockingham has teamed with local homelessness advocate Owen Farmer, and Deputy Mayor Hayley Edwards to create Rough it 4 Rockingham — a local rough sleeping event that aims to fundraise exclusively for the Rockingham community.
To be held on Saturday October 8, before World Homelessness Day on October 10, participants will sleep rough for one night at a location in the City of Rockingham.
Ms Edwards said she and her fellow organisers recognised that more people were doing it tough and need extra food support and financial assistance in the area, so they created an event by locals, for the locals that need it.
“The idea of Rough it 4 Rockingham is to unite our community and assist those people doing it tough in our City. Sleeping rough . . . is the cold, hard reality for many people in our city, sleeping rough and raising funds for this event will come back to Rockingham through Salvation Army Rockingham,” she said.
“The money raised will purchase swags, sleeping bags and provide food for our community — a $50 donation can provide a family with nutritious fruit and vegetables for an entire week.”
With an ambitious goal of $75,000, Ms Edwards said people can get involved by donating, becoming a member of the fundraising team or registering to participate in the sleepout on October 8.
But the deputy mayor is particularly encouraging people to join the sleepout.
“It is easy to underestimate how hard it is for people sleeping rough, one night is hard, not having somewhere safe and warm to rest is something most of us take for granted,” she said.
“This experience gives participants an opportunity to feel what it’s like for one night, the cumulative effects of sleeping rough for our community is significant and sharing an experience of sleeping rough will hopefully encourage more people to advocate for our marginalised community members.”
Ms Edwards said there have been about 25 registrations for the sleepout so far and that they are aiming for 30-50 participants.
As the housing crisis worsens across the State, the Rough it 4 Rockingham team hopes to make this grassroots initiative a regular community event.
“The community response has been great so far. We have had support from Rockingham businesses, who are more than happy to get involved since all funds are coming back to our community,” Ms Edwards said.
Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby’s office said Mr Whitby has donated $350 to the cause and hopes to make an appearance at the sleepout on October 8.
Warnbro MLA Paul Papalia has donated $100 to the cause.
To find out more and participate in Rough it 4 Rockingham, visit roughit4rockingham.org.