Beddown and other forms of social and affordable housing require a yes in my back yard, or YIMBY mindset more than any other form of development. While luxury and market rate residential developers are regularly the target of not in my back yard, or NIMBY, objections to new development, and new commercial or industrial development can also end up in the crosshairs, the level of objection to a new luxury housing development or shopping centre is nothing compared to a proposal to introduce social or affordable housing into an established neighbourhood. Even when the government facilitated temporary accommodation in hotels for those otherwise sleeping rough on our streets during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis to reduce the health risk to this vulnerable sector of our community, there was local outcry.
That is why YIMBY Qld is supporting Beddown and the Shed your Bed challenge.
Beddown is a local charity, established to provide ‘pop-up’ crisis accommodation for those who are homeless, in the face of housing affordability challenges and a shortage of community housing. The Beddown model provides an immediate response for those who sleep rough to access a safe, secure shelter and access to a comfy bed and great night’s sleep. Sleep quality is integral to the proper functioning of the human body and very connected to stress and mental health.
The Shed your Bed challenge is a fundraising event scheduled for 10 October 2020, World Homeless Day. It will become an annual event. All you have to do is ditch your bed for ONE NIGHT on World Homeless Day, and ask your friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you.
Beddown’s philosophy is simple – ‘everyone deserves access to a safe, secure and comfortable environment as well as social inclusion and betterment‘.
Beddown takes an innovative and collaborative approach, seeking to activate under-utilised spaces and repurposing them into pop-up overnight accommodation, repurposing facilities that are otherwise lying idle for certain periods of the day/night.
In addition to the pop-up beds, Beddown endeavours to host a number of supporting services coming together in a ‘one-stop-shop’ effort, providing laundry, health and wellbeing, haircuts, clothing and many more support services. A number of the services already collaborating with Beddown include Sunny Street, Rosies, Grill’d, Deliveroo, The Salvation Army, Thread Together and Orange Sky. By collaborating with these other services, Beddown aims to provide longer term solutions to transition guests into accommodation, education and employment opportunities with the underlying and fundamental goal to eventually ‘go out of business’ and eradicate the need for this immediate ‘pop-up’ support accommodation.
YIMBY Qld is advocating for the Qld Government to streamline processes that facilitate the delivery of critical homelessness services such as Beddown.
There are opportunities to reduce red tape associated with establishing accommodation for vulnerable people, enabling and empowering charities such as Beddown to be more responsive to what is expected to be a growing need during the economic recovery. We believe this could be accommodated by broadening the definition of Community residence and corresponding exemption, to allow up to 30 ‘guests’ and 15 support workers, in appropriate locations. To ensure broadening of the definition does not result in potential adverse impacts, it could be limited to certain Zones (eg. Principle Centre or other centres or community purpose zones and potentially industrial zones, rather than residential areas, particularly lower density residential areas), and to dual use / repurposing of existing buildings only i.e. no new (external) building work involved and therefore no impact on character and streetscape which may otherwise warrant an application.
It’s hard to imagine being homeless, let alone in the midst of a pandemic. Invisible, overlooked, and moved along. Tired and unsafe. And more than 8,000 Australians are living this way – every day – including 400 children under the age of 12. Everyone deserves a safe place to sleep.
The SHED YOUR BED challenge is a simple way all of us can make a difference, build awareness, and raise funds for people in our community who are sleeping rough, or vulnerable to homelessness.