Street Swags was started in August 2005 when a need was identified by a lack of comfort and the scarcity of protection from the elements that those who were sleeping rough were experiencing.
Street Swags Ltd is committed to reducing illness and deaths attributed to Homelessness by providing a swag for Australians sleeping rough, and promoting community awareness and education about the disadvantages of the homelessness in Australia. Street Swags is a bag with room for extra belongings, it is made of high-quality Australian canvas that is mildew resistant and breathable. The Swags are made in Australia, in programs that provide training, and qualification for prisoners in Correctional centers in Queensland and New South Wales. Prisoners are taught to sew the swags by Industries Personnel which then gives them accreditation for the skills that they learn and can help them when they leave the prison system Prisoners also contribute their knowledge and experience to improvements to the design of the Swags.
In 2016 Street Swags as a charity moved in a new direction. A new CEO was appointed, a new board was appointed and over 20 new members were appointed into the charities constitution the following year. Unfortunate events outside the control of the charity unfolded and the charity made the decision not to close and not to re brand or change its name. 14 years had passed since the charity began, thousands of swags had been distributed around Australia, and thousand of hours had been given to the charity by hundreds of passionate volunteers. For this reason the Charity made the decision to continue doing its good work and to continue helping those rough sleepers all around Australia.
Over the coming years the charity started manufacturing a considerably better swag and the charity started to distribute more Swags than ever before. Whenever we are asked " How is the Charity doing" we happily give the answer that we now produce more swags than we ever have , and that we have used the events that unfolded to restructure the charity, to make the Charity an example to other charities on how to be transparent with donors and how to implement good governance.
To address the basic human need for shelter by
• providing bedding and refuge from the elements in the form of a waterproof, lightweight and compact Swag for those who can’t access emergency/immediate accommodation and
• promoting community awareness and education concerning the homeless, vulnerable and needy and the dangers and disadvantages they face sleeping outdoors. Purpose To provide temporary basic bedding and shelter to those who are homeless, vulnerable or needy sleeping outdoors
Many State and Private Schools now form a national network of students that participate in the rolling, packing and distribution of the Swags. St Joseph’s Nudgee College in particular has been part of Street Swags since inception and is the main distribution hub. Students in the Social Justice Program at Nudgee College helped to raise funds through activites such as bush dances, talent shows and events such as Cow Lotto and the Rolloff Competition which has spread through many other schools around Australia. Rolling the swags became a big part of the justice program, and importantly helped students recognize and value all people in our community. People who have assisted in swag rolling do so in the knowledge they are helping to save someones life.
• Since 2007 - 40,000 swags delivered Australia wide
• 2015 – distributed 3700 swags
• 2016 – distributed 5251 swags
• 2017- designed and manufacture of the "JUMBUCK’ - A bed that a rough sleeper can set up and pack down within seconds Scope Street Swags operates Australia wide and has distributed just under 40 000 Swags all around Australia with the majority distributed in QLD followed by NSW.
On any given night in Australia one in 200 Australians are homeless with almost 7000 sleeping rough. 28% are children and young people under 18 years and 23% are escaping Domestic and family violence according to Homelessness Australia . While not a solution to homelessness , the Swag provides important protection while someone is looking for accommodation, specially when it’s cold and wet outside. Over 55% of all people seeking emergency accommodation are turned away and over 80% of families with children are turned away.
Street Swags is a solution to the basic human need for shelter, in the form of the Jumbuck swag, a water proof 2 kilo, no strings attached sleeping bag with room personal belongings. Essentially a compact version of the traditional Aussie icon, the swag’s discreet appearance and camouflage colours offer warmth, comfort and safety. Unfortunately, for various reasons including affordable housing shortages, and fear of recrimination or judgement, some of these people are unable to find housing immediately. The negative health impacts of sleeping on concrete and dirt have been researched and proven. Noise, weather, pollution and the danger of sleeping in the open are other health risks. The side effects of sleep deprivation also have a major impact on the homeless and their health. It is very difficult to get a good night’s sleep if you are wet and cold. People who are homeless experienced physical pain and sickness from sleeping on cold concrete and being exposed to unpleasant weather conditions.