Imagine at the end of a working day coming home to find all your furniture gone. Nowhere to sit and nowhere to sleep. You camp on the floor and when you wake in the morning the kitchen and bathroom are trashed. No water, no electricity and no food. The doors and the windows are gone. All your precious possessions have vanished – your phone, clothes, pictures, books, your computer. In despair you go to work, feeling grubby in yesterday’s clothes. There is no job anymore, you’re turned away at the door. When you try to buy a meal, your bankcard is declined. No money, no food, nowhere to shelter from the cold and rain. Welcome to the reality of homelessness!
Now imagine this didn’t happen to you but to your teenage daughter… alone on the street, friendless, cold, hungry and vulnerable. As parents you frantically search the city streets, fear in your hearts.
This is a personal appeal for help from Dr Robin Youngson, the CoFounder of Hearts in Healthcare.
On the 3rd of July I will be made homeless. For one cold night in the dead of winter I will be stripped of my creature comforts, exposed to the elements and given insight into what it means to sleep rough.
With only a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard for bedding I will be joined by close to 100 other influential Kiwis as I sleep out for Auckland’s young homeless population at the annual Lifewise Big Sleepout.
For me, being made homeless, albeit temporarily, is a choice. For the thousands of Kiwis, of all ages, who have been made homeless as a result of crippling life circumstances, being homeless is not a choice. It is a devastating reality that demands a compassionate response.
As a medical specialist, I’m calling on all health professionals to remember the ideals that brought you into healthcare. Show your compassion for our homeless and vulnerable young people – before they end up in the Emergency Department with drug overdose, assault or hypothermia.
It’s time that we took a stand because, despite all its complications, with the right approach, homelessness can be solved.
EVERY dollar I fundraise will be directly applied to Lifewise’s unique “no band aids” approach to homelessness. The Lifewise response continues to be Auckland’s most successful answer to the issue of homelessness. So before I bed down on a slab of concrete I’d love to ask if you might sponsor me. Please back me and please back this worthy cause by digging deep today.
Image: “Homelessness” by Certo Xomal