Thank You Thursday: A pop-up solution for homelessness

Homelessness is close to Norm McGillivray’s heart. The challenges faced by his own father back in the early 1970s, Norm witnessed how it can really affect someone’s life.

Fast-forward some forty-something years, and one evening, when parking his car at the local shopping centre Norm realised just how empty the place was.  That was when a simple idea came to him… to utilise the space by putting a couple of beds within the parking lot, and provide a couple of services such as access to doctors, dentists and even hairdressers.   Not only would this give those experiencing homelessness a good night’s sleep, but essential services would be on hand too.

This is when the idea for Beddown began.

Due to unsafe conditions sleeping on park benches, public toilets and under bridges many of the 8,000 Australians experiencing homelessness every night are sleep deprived. This in turn can lead to many health problems such as mental health issues, depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss, all of which can impair cognitive functions leading to alcohol and drug abuse.

Beddown, established as a charity in 2018, looks at spaces differently. They aim to find spaces such as undercover car parks that are used and busy during the day but stand vacant at night. Car parks are sheltered, secure and clean, and can be easily turned into pop-up accommodation and swiftly folded away with minimal disruption to normal business the next morning.  Car parks are handy too as they are located in every major city across Australia and thereby can be easily accessed by those who are exposed to street dangers.

Beddown and Australia’s largest car park operator, Secure Parking, who operate over 600 car parks across Australia and New Zealand, are working closely together to conduct a trial of pop-up accommodation in the Brisbane CBD. As part of this trial they collaborate with other charitable organisations providing complementary services such as laundry, showers, food, health and wellbeing.

Everyone deserves a bed to sleep in and this innovative little charity believe you need to repair the quality of life, before building a life of quality.

So, this Thank You Thursday, the first in the Australian winter this year, we say thanks to Norm and the team at Beddown for giving a small amount of comfort and warmth to some of our most vulnerable people.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick

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