Shortage of blankets and sleeping bags for people sleeping rough this winter

Having a warm, comfortable bed to lie on at night is something most people take for granted but for many Sydneysiders experiencing homelessness it is a luxury they cannot afford. That is why the volunteers at the Sydney Vinnies Van Services regularly hand out sleeping bags and blankets to the people they assist.

According to Gemma Cameron, Sydney Vinnies Van Services Coordinator, they are running dangerously low on warm sleeping materials and are calling on the public to donate new, adult sized, good quality sleeping bags. They would also love brand new blankets to distribute.

“While a sleeping bag is a long way from a comfortable bed in a warm, safe room, it can still make a difference for people who are sleeping rough during these cold winter days and nights.

“Year on year we have seen an increase in the number of people we see each night, and with the nights getting colder, demand for blankets and sleeping bags is very high. A good sleeping bag is vitally important for people who are sleeping rough to protect them from the elements at night and help prevent a decline  in health. At Night Patrol we strive to provide dignity and comfort to those doing it tough, and offering a sleeping bag goes a long way to helping us achieve this goal,” said Gemma.

Sydney Night Patrol is a Special Work of the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and a part of the Sydney Vinnies Van Services. The service consists of two vans operating in the Sydney CBD seven nights a week (excluding New Year’s Eve) providing a meal, blankets, snacks, hot beverages and most importantly, companionship to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness within the inner city of Sydney.

Vinnies CEO Jack de Groot said: “This winter has been particularly bitter with the coldest weekend recorded in over 100 years. This winter we are also seeing a 20 per cent increase in electricity costs, and an affordable housing black hole in the state Budget.

“We are encouraging people to think of those less fortunate during these cold months. Please get in touch with our Night Patrol team if you have some good quality sleeping bags or new blankets to donate.”

Poverty is growing in Australia and on any given night in Australia 1 in 200 people experience homelessness. There are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless of whom 44 per cent are female.

Details for drop off:

Please contact 0409 927 939 or nightpatrol@sydneyvinnies.org to arrange a drop off.

Media contact:  Phyllis Sakinofsky | phyllis.sakinofsky@vinnies.org.au | 0417 446 430