A free mobile laundry and a shower service on wheels have been named as the first recipients of a Queensland Government funding initiative that will help people survive homelessness with dignity.
Brisbane-based charity Orange Sky Laundry operates free mobile laundry and shower facilities out of specially fitted vans to people experiencing homelessness, along with friendly conversation.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said Orange Sky Laundry will receive close to $300,000 for a mobile laundry van to operate in south east Queensland and a van fitted with two showers to service the Brisbane area.
Mr de Brenni said Orange Sky are just two of the 24 projects that made successful applications for support to the Dignity First Fund.
“The Dignity First Fund, announced at the end of July was created to support projects that provide immediate dignity to people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.
“Orange Sky has been an outstanding example of our Dignity First principles in action and we are very proud to be helping them expand their work.
“Orange Sky’s impact is about more than just clean clothes and a shower. They provide meaningful human connection for people doing it tough.
“Across the country Orange Sky Laundry services are provided by over 600 volunteers who provide over 1300 hours of conversation with homeless people each week.
“When we launched the Dignity First Fund, we were looking for new ideas to help people experiencing homelessness to recognise their worth and gain confidence.
“We were overwhelmed and inspired by the projects people came up with.
“In fact, we received so many outstanding submissions that we increased the original funding amount from the $2m up to $2.5m. We’re investing it in real outcomes for some very vulnerable people.
“There were 79 applications for funding from 66 organisations and the ideas generated leave me in no doubt that we can and will make a real difference.
“Homelessness is something you go through, not something you are.
“Whatever situation you’re in, you have the right to live with dignity, and these initiatives are designed to help people get through this part of their lives,” he said.
The funding comprised a Start-up Category to encourage a fresh approach to the challenges people face, an Innovation Category for organisations to fund initiatives outside the traditional way of thinking and a Small Capital Grants Category to help homelessness providers upgrade existing facilities.
“All of the projects that will be funded through the inaugural Dignity First Fund will make a real difference to people’s lives, and I look forward to announcing them in the coming weeks,” Mr de Brenni said.
“I congratulate Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett of Orange Sky Laundry. They are an example to all of us of how empathy and a willingness to act can help our most vulnerable people live with dignity.”