By Ebony Dike
A virtual Sleep in Your Car event has raised more than $25,000 to support young people experiencing homelessness.
The sixth annual Sleep In Your Car event, hosted by Fusion Mornington Peninsula, went online this year, with participants sleeping in their cars at home due to lockdown restrictions.
The event, run in the lead up to homelessness week, featured a number of online interactive experiences including a Walk Without Home simulation, which saw participants gain insight into the common experience of young people navigating homelessness.
Fusion’s Jacklyn Jenkins said the Sleep in Your Car event was created by the organisation in order to give the local community the opportunity to consider what it means to be homeless.
“The experience was born in response to the question of ‘how do we get residents to understand what young people are experiencing, and what the system’s like’,” Ms Jenkins said.
“We wanted to give people within the community some insight into the experiences of others.”
Fusion provides much-needed housing support and accommodation to young people between the ages 15 and 21 who are experiencing homeless. Eight beds are available on-site at Fusion, where young people can stay for up to three months.
Frankston’s Jordan Macleod, aged 27, participated in this year’s Sleep in Your Car fundraiser because he was concerned about the detrimental impact the COVID-19 crisis was having on the number of Australians listed as homeless.
“I realised that this global pandemic was most likely going to increase the number of people finding themselves without a place to live, and I saw this event and just decided that it was a small way that I could try and help people in need,” she said.
This year’s theme was ‘together there’s life’, a motto Ms Jenkins said Fusion created to remind people to support one another at a time in when community cohesion was more important than ever.
“It’s about people being able to connect and immerse themselves in the experience and be able to hopefully walk away with knowledge that ignites a desire to do something, to engage in a certain way that promotes life in community,” Ms Jenkins said.
“An exercise like this helps bring us to a place of reflection where we seek to empathise with others. That’s when change can occur.”