On the eve of Homelessness Week, more than 200 high school students will forgo their home comforts and brave the elements tomorrow, Friday, 3 August, to take part in the Anglicare WA School Sleep Out at Optus Stadium.
Now in its third year, the School Sleep Out gives students a practical insight into the experience endured nightly by the thousands of WA young people without a safe place to call home.
Despite the wet weather forecast, each student will only be permitted a sleeping bag, pillow and the clothes on their back. They’re given soup for dinner and cardboard to sleep-on.
Anglicare WA CEO Ian Carter said the students from 14 different schools will be given a no frills experience to help them find empathy with other young people for whom it’s a daily reality.
“The School Sleep Out includes a simulation exercise, where the students are put through real scenarios faced daily by those young people, who don’t have a safe place to live,” explained Mr Carter.
“Participants often find it’s an incredibly complicated process, and can become frustrated and disheartened. It’s no different to what young people experiencing homelessness go through every day, except these students get to go home in the morning.
“The students aren’t allowed a decent night’s sleep either, with volunteers routinely creating disruptions imitating the nightly experience faced by those living rough.”
Youth workers from Anglicare WA’s Street Connect team check-in with students during the event and conducting debrief sessions.
Mr Carter said participating students help raise funds for the Street Connect program, a mobile team operating in the inner city to assist, support and inform 15-25 year olds experiencing homelessness.
Students participating in the 2018 School Sleep Out have so far raised over $50,000.
To find out more about the School Sleep Out and Street Connect, visit www.anglicarewa.org.au.
Media contact: Emma-Jane Morcombe, Anglicare WA Media and PR Coordinator,