Introduction

A bag with room for extra belongings, the street swag is made of super lightweight waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress. It offers its users a degree of comfort, warmth and protection from the weather. Designed for those living on the streets, its discrete appearance and camouflage colours, offer some safety for those who need to be invisible.

"The street swags are about keeping people alive, long enough, for the community to take responsibility for their own"
- Jean Madden

Street swags has empowered and brought together all levels of community. Corporate, and private entities, donate funds to sponsor the street swags. Prisoners sew, gaining work readiness skills and qualifications. Aboriginal Communities gain government employment, home industry skills and their finished product for their families. School children roll and package street swags with blankets, pillows, hygiene packs and knitted winter essentials. Numerous aid organisations, hospitals, community groups and volunteers distribute them across Australia. This is how we were able to respond so quickly to the Victorian bush fire disaster, with the help of the Salvation Army we had people bedded within hours of the fires hitting.

Like most companies The Global Financial Crisis has made significant changes to our activity. We have seen the majority of our street swags be given to families who can no longer afford to live anywhere, bedding more children and pregnant women then ever before.

One of the ways we have responded to this is by creating a wholly owned subsidiary Walkabout Beds Pty Ltd. This second entity sells a new version of the street swag the 'walkabout bed', www.walkaboutbeds.com Designed for emergency relief, the walkabout bed is a modular tent with a thicker full length mattress or thermarest allowing families to be sheltered together.

Recognition

Jean Madden the designer behind all of this won the INDEX Award 2009: People's Choice Award, the largest design award in the world. She has also won QLD Young Australian of the Year 2010.

Feedback

"I would like to note that the feedback from clients who receive the swags is overwhelmingly positive - they believe they are really useful (they are better than the other options of lying on the ground without any covering etc) and quite practical to move around (for those who are transient). Thank you again for all your support"
- David Brenan, Manager, Outreach Connections Salvation Army, Pathways
"This brilliantly designed bedroll provides a ground sheet, mattress, waterproof tent and backpack all in one. This gives the homeless something not only to be proud of owning but a complete sleeping facility that does not identify them as homeless and a potential target for vilification and abuse".
- John Millsom, President St Vincent De Paul, Mudgeeraba Queensland Australia
"Over the past couple of years we have been receiving your fantastic street swags to distribute to the homeless rough sleepers in Sydney. Earlier this year we received about 5 pallets of swags and have distributed them amongst the homeless services of Sydney as well as directly to the homeless rough sleepers that we work with on a daily basis. We provide a swag to people we come across during our patrols when we can not locate them accommodation. I believe that your swags have saved lives over this past Winter and will continue to do so into the future".
- Daniel Petsalis, A/Operations Manager Adult Accommodation & Support Services - Mission Australia

Aims

Street Swags Limited provides practical support to alleviate the hardships of homeless people by offering a comfortable and durable form of bedding to every person in need.

Street Swags Limited is a customer focused organization based on honesty, practicality, integrity, transparency and constructive team-work.

Objectives

  1. To provide homeless people with “street swags” in order to reduce the negative effects of sleeping outdoors without adequate protection from the elements.
  2. To reduce the amount of illness and the number of deaths in Australia attributed to homelessness and sleeping outdoors without adequate protection from the elements.
  3. To provide holistic support to homeless people including but not limited to practical, social and educational support.
  4. To promote ongoing community education and awareness concerning homeless people and the dangers and disadvantages they suffer.
Street Swags Supporters