Introduction for presenter: A unique solution to the lack of accommodation for Sydney’s homeless people is growing. Elwyn Chow reports.
Chow: The 24-7 Street Kitchen and Safe Space is increasing their bed capacity to a hundred in June. The safe space was established in December 2016 under the awning of a construction site in Martin Place. I spoke to the founder Lanz Priestley about his plans for the future of the space.
Priestley: By June the 23rd, we’ll have fifty bunks in place of the beds you can see now.
Chow: Who’s supplying the bunks?
Priestley: We have a crowdfunder up and we’re actually going to buy them. The way I see it, you know: 50 bunk sets, 10 grand, right? 10 grand to buy beds for a 100 people. What we’ll be doing is providing 36,500 nights of safe accommodation for people who need it.
Chow: The construction is expected to last two years. After that, the awning will disappear. If the beds last that long, the fundraising will have bought a bed at 14 cents per night. According to the February 2017 street count, there are 948 homeless people living in Sydney. Therefore, the bunks could provide bedding for 10.5% of Sydney’s homeless population.