A group of Daylesford residents share a vision for a future that is free of homelessness – an issue that is closer to home than one might imagine.
It is estimated more than 50 people in Daylesford are homeless each night.
Daylesford resident Richard Herr is the founder of Red Table Fundraisers, a not-for-profit organisation running the Homeless Couture fundraising event in Daylesford.
The Homeless Couture aims to raise funds to purchase Backpack Beds – a swag that rolls to a backpack for homeless people sleeping without shelter.
Designer hats, fascinators and accessories will be on sale at the Daylesford Town Hall fundraiser on Sunday.
Mr Herr said he decided to do something about homelessness after feeling confronted by the issue during a visit to Melbourne.
“We as a collective need to help the people who are in this area. It is just making people aware that the problem is around us and every bit of effort helps the situation,” Mr Herr said.
Gold coin donations and the sale of second-hand designer items at the Homeless Couture will raise funds to help people sleeping rough in Daylesford receive a Backpack Bed.
Red Table Fundraisers volunteer Max Primmer said the beds included a blanket, mat and pillow inside a waterproof swag.
“I think for some people it would just make a big difference to their lives to have two or three hours a night of sleeping somewhere that is dry and warm,” Mr Primmer said. “I have seen homelessness in Daylesford... A lot of people in this area don’t accept it. They think we’re a rich town and that we’ve got lots of money. There are lots of bed and breakfasts for tourists, but that doesn’t mean people are getting help.”
Hepburn Shire Councillor Kate Redwood said homelessness was a complex issue.
“Homeless includes people who may be living out in the forest, people who are dossing down in toilets or church porches, people who are couch surfing and people who, like the residents of the Daylesford caravan park, are evicted from their rental premises and don’t have anywhere to go,” Cr Redwood said.
Hepburn Shire Council appointed Community Housing Limited to take over management of the shire’s community housing in July.
Cr Redwood said councillors were working with Community Housing Limited to have more places for people to live. The average waiting time for priority social housing in Hepburn Shire is two years and up to seven years for non-priority cases.
The Homeless Couture is on at Daylesford Town Hall from 12pm to 3pm on Sunday with a fashion parade.