Street swags provide some comfort to Shoalhaven’s homeless

HOMELESS HELP: St Vincent de Paul Society John Purcell House case worker Stacey Ellard (front left) accepts the Street Swags from Shoalhaven Hospital staff members (back from left) Shayne Fletcher, Dominique Stephanidis, Violet Green, Wendy Fetchet, Bec Houghton, Bec Underdown, Jo Carrick (middle) and fundraising organiser Karen Raymond (front).

HOMELESS HELP: St Vincent de Paul Society John Purcell House case worker Stacey Ellard (front left) accepts the Street Swags from Shoalhaven Hospital staff members (back from left) Shayne Fletcher, Dominique Stephanidis, Violet Green, Wendy Fetchet, Bec Houghton, Bec Underdown, Jo Carrick (middle) and fundraising organiser Karen Raymond (front).

JOHN Purcell House in Nowra has been presented with 12 Street Swags for homeless men following a combined fund-raising effort by staff at Shoalhaven Hospital and a local hairdressing salon.

Enrolled nurse Karen Raymond, with help from a few colleagues, organised a fund-raising effort at the hospital to purchase swags.

By asking colleagues for a gold coin donation, $600 was raised at the hospital and when Karen’s daughter Jazmin also came on board through her business, Tricia’s Clip-n-Snip in Bomaderry, a further $120 was raised.

That allowed 12 Street Swags to be purchased, which have been donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society’s John Purcell House.

With an estimated 100 people sleeping rough in the Shoalhaven each night, and Sleep Out Shoalhaven staged on Saturday evening to highlight the problem of homelessness in the area, the donation could not have come at a better time.

“We just saw it as a way we could possibly help,” Ms Raymond said.

“The response from staff and from the salon was fantastic.

“Each swag only costs $60 but can make a huge difference to a homeless person.”

John Purcell House case worker Stacey Ellard said the swags would be given to local men who are “sleeping rough”.

“This is a wonderful donation and is certainly much appreciated,” Ms Ellard said.

“I know of a number of men who are sleeping rough, and they will certainly appreciate this extra piece of comfort.

“Any man that comes to us for help gets something, whether it be a bed where possible, or if we can’t house them, a meal and a blanket. These swags will be of great benefit.”

Street Swags is a not-for-profit organisation that produces durable bedding for the homeless.

Made of super lightweight waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress, they offer a degree of comfort, warmth and protection from the weather. 

For more information on the Street Swags program go to www.streetswags.org

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