Donors vital to support people doing it tough

New data analysis by Orange Sky reveals that of the top 20 wealthiest member countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Australia has the third largest overall poverty rate and the highest for those over 65. This places Australia behind other wealthy countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Germany in tackling poverty and homelessness (1).

With only a small change in events separating poverty from homelessness, those living in poverty may actually be dangerously close to not having a permanent roof over their head. Financial difficulties, family and domestic violence, housing affordability and availability, relationship breakdowns and ill-health, are just some of the many reasons people find themselves doing it tough.

Homelessness is complex and involves more than just a lack of housing. A staggering 3.24 million people in Australia now live below the poverty line (2), with data from Australia’s most recent census reporting that enough people are experiencing homelessness (116,427) to fill Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium twice over. Of the one in 200 Australians experiencing homelessness, five percent are ‘sleeping rough’ and 95 percent are staying in shelters, boarding houses, temporary accommodation, or severely crowded homes(3). Orange Sky helps Aussies in all situations, regardless of their sleeping arrangements, regain their dignity with warm showers, clean clothes and meaningful conversations.

Orange Sky Co-Founder Lucas Patchett said that he’s seen first-hand how a small change of events can change a life.

“The pandemic has impacted all of our lives in some way, but for people who may have already been struggling, it’s now made it even more difficult to get by.

“Without a strong support network in place, it just takes one or two things to go wrong for someone to find themselves homeless. We hear stories like this around our six orange chairs all the time.”

Orange Sky Australia is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people who are experiencing homelessness, or simply going through a tough time. What started as an idea to improve hygiene standards and help restore dignity has evolved into 31 services operating in Australia and two in New Zealand. .

“After pausing our services in March last year due to COVID-19, we’ve rebuilt from the ground up to deliver over 8,200 shifts across Australia in the last 12 months. But we know there’s more people out there who need our support, and it’s concerning that demand is growing,” says Patchett.

Orange Sky is striving to deliver 12,500 shifts in the next financial year, which is an increase of over 50% to meet demand. As a result, the charity is encouraging Australians to help people doing it tough as the end of the financial year approaches. A tax-deductible donation will provide clean clothes, warm showers and genuine, non-judgemental conversations.

“Our donors are absolutely essential to keeping our bright orange vans on the road and to continue to scale our operations so we can help as many people as possible,” says Patchett.

Jasmine Ongley is an advocate for Orange Sky for this very reason, “The work Orange Sky does is so important in providing those living rough with some basic dignity and much needed company. Homelessness can be much closer than many of us think and it is heartening to know that the wonderful services and volunteers of Orange Sky are out there in the community.” says Jasmine.

Patchett says, “Our donors like Jasmine are invaluable; without them we wouldn’t be able to support Aussies who have unexpectedly found themselves experiencing homelessness.”

Australians who are able to, are encouraged to visit the website to make a tax-deductible donation to support people doing it tough.

About Orange Sky

Orange Sky is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness – an idea founded in a Brisbane garage by two 20-year-old mates, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett. In late 2014, the boys installed a couple of washing machines and dryers in the back of an old van and visited parks around Brisbane to wash and dry clothes for free.

Orange Sky has expanded to provide shower services and remote vehicles, and is now operating 31 services across the country, providing people doing it tough with access to free laundry and shower services.

What started as an idea to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity to people doing it tough has evolved into something much bigger and more powerful. Orange Sky volunteers have engaged in 236,734 hours of conversations to date, helping to challenge the perception of homelessness and positively connect communities all around Australia.

After growing their laundry and shower services across Australia, Orange Sky expanded into New Zealand in 2018 taking the organisation international with a vision to help the 41,600 New Zealanders experiencing homelessness.

Data Citations

A change of events can change a life. But so can your support. 

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Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office