Daylesford’s Richard Herr took to the streets of Melbourne last Friday in his latest effort to restore dignity to the homeless.
Mr Herr heard about how the homeless were being pushed to the outskirts of Melbourne’s CBD during the city’s annual comedy festival.
He decided something needed to be done to boost their spirits and so he hit the streets with bags of Ralph Lauren and Turnbull & Asser shirts left over from his Homeless Couture events.
“A friend of mine told me a lot of the homeless were pushed out of the city with a big event on and a lot of them were in an alleyway on the edge of the city,” he said.
“I got there and all these people had been pushed into a laneway and were all nestled up together.
“It was like someone had gone through the city and hosed all the homeless people out. Typical Melbourne.”
He said being given such high-quality clothing put a smile on many faces.
“It had the Cinderella effect on a lot of them. They were all stoked.
“A man, who was quite handsome, had not been on the street long and told me he used to wear those same brands. He was beside himself. These people could not believe they were being handed such quality clothing and were so happy. It was wonderful to witness,” he said.
Mr Herr, director of not-for-profit charity Red Table Fundraisers, which provides clothing to the homeless, partnered with national charity Backpack Bed for Homeless in a bid to help the hundreds of homeless people in Victoria.
A recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed a 165 per cent increase in Melbourne street sleepers since 2011.
Backpack beds give immediate outdoor portable shelter to people who would otherwise be sleeping in the elements.
Mr Herr has put on two Homeless Couture events.
The first involved selling donated women’s clothing, including jewelry, hats and handbags, to raise money for people living on the streets in Daylesford and Central Victoria.
The event raised money for 39 swags.
The second event involved 500 shirts designer donated from Toorak men being sold for $5 each.
Money raised from the sales was donated to people living on the streets of the Mornington Peninsula.
He was left with about 150 shirts, 80 per cent of which he donated to op shops, with the remainder being that which he gave to those in Melbourne’s CBD.