Friday, May 09, 2008

Homeless get a boost from industry - The Sydney Morning Herald - 1st May 2008

Mission Australia and a commercial real estate website have found a novel way to raise money for housing homeless people.

For every person who visits the website, the real estate website will donate one dollar to the Mission Australia charity, up to a total of $100,000.

To publicise the national campaign - launched by federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek - the charity built a cardboard "city" of 250 houses in Sydney's Martin Place, to illustrate how homeless people have to sleep on the streets.

"Every night over 100,000 people sleep on the streets," Asia Pacific general manager Shaun Di Gregorio said.

"We know everyone wants to make a positive difference for the homeless, but most people's budgets are tight these days.

"We've set up so people can donate $100,000 without it costing them a thing.

"We also hope they will use the information on to learn more about the homeless issue.

"Hopefully, they may even be inspired to go on to make an additional donation of their own money to Mission Australia," he said in a statement.

Toby Hall, chief executive of Mission Australia, said he believed the actual number of people sleeping on the streets was higher than the official count of 100,000.

The reasons for homelessness varied, Mr Hall said.

"For some people - particularly teenagers - it's because of family conflict. For others, it's mental illness or substance abuse.

"More and more these days we see people who become homeless for financial reasons - they can't make their rent or they're too deep in debt."

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