Sleeping rough is a life-threatening condition
For those sleeping rough on the streets of Sydney this winter, life can be filled with life-threatening challenges.
Not only do these men and women face freezing and sleepless nights, they also experience much higher chances of encountering violence, and a life expectancy 30 years less than the average Australian.
In fact, it has been shown that rough sleepers are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence than those who haven’t experienced rough sleeping, and people who have experienced long-term rough sleeping have an average life expectancy of just 47 years, compared to 77 years amongst the general population.
The situation has led some experts to push for homelessness to be listed as an official cause of death for those who have fallen victim to murder or chronic illness while sleeping rough on the streets.
While some small steps are being taken to raise awareness of the life-threatening risks taken by those who sleep rough, the sad reality is that most deaths in Sydney’s homeless community continue to go unnoticed by the general public.
That’s why Wesley Mission is hosting a special memorial service on Tuesday 7 and Friday 10 August to remember those who have died while experiencing homelessness.
The service will be led by Michael Tang, Chaplain of Wesley Edward Eager Lodge, and friends, relatives and members of the public are all invited to attend and pay their respects.
The memorial service is part of Homelessness Prevention Week (6-12 August), and is the first of three memorial services held throughout the week that will highlight the plight of those who sleep rough on our streets.
The service will provide an important opportunity for the wider community to consider the impact homelessness can have on people who are too often forgotten, including the hundreds of rough sleepers who die every year from the impacts of homelessness.
The event will also provide a unique and important opportunity for those still experiencing homelessness to remember friends they have lost.
Last year’s memorial service drew around 50 people from the community, as well as local church leaders, staff from other inner-city community service organisations and City of Sydney councillors.
Please join us at this year's Homeless Memorial Service: