You’ve done it again Sonshine Family! As we completed our sixth annual Heart for the Homeless appeal last week, we were once again astounded at your generosity as you gave in massive numbers to help those experiencing homelessness this winter. With the rains bucketing down outside and reminding us exactly why we need to help those without a warm place to stay and a roof over their head, we collected and counted donations that had been made across our 23 collection points right around the metro area. Then on Friday we distributed these much needed items to our partners at St Pat’s, St Bart’s and Uniting WA. We are excited to announce that we’ve exceeded all previous Heart For The Homeless tallies!

Throughout May we asked you to donate sleeping bags, fleece blankets, warm clothing, toiletries and other essential items, to help the thousands of Western Australians who have no safe and warm place to sleep in our state on any given night. Over the past few weeks we’ve heard from representatives from our partners in the appeal, and also those who’ve experienced homelessness first hand, and were able to share how the work of our partner organisations has impacted them when they needed it most.

Sonshine CEO Bevan Jones says the success of the appeal is most pleasing because the need has never been greater. “With over 9700 West Australians experiencing homelessness according to the 2021 census, and as the cost of living and housing crisis deepens, it’s never been more imperative for us to come together and offer warmth and comfort to those without a safe and warm place to sleep.”

The final tally

Last year’s Heart for the Homeless appeal saw an outpouring of generosity, with over 10,700 items donated, and this year we broke the 11,000 item barrier for the first time, with a final tally of 11,259 items at last count… and they keep coming in! Michael Piu, CEO of St Pat’s, expresses gratitude for the community’s support, highlighting how these donations provide encouragement and solidarity to those in need. “What’s so special about this campaign is how Sonshine brings people together – not just to provide support – but to show people who are doing it tough that they’re not alone. It shows them that they have the strength and support not just of St Pat’s, but their community behind them.”

When we dropped off the collected items to St Pat’s last Friday they were down to just four sleeping bags in their supplies, so these donations came at just the right time for them to support those approaching them for help as winter hits.

Jen Park, Co-CEO of Uniting WA, said this unified effort by the Perth community and Sonshine listeners to help those experiencing homelessness is a step on the path to addressing the issue on a larger scale. “Ending homelessness – meaning there is enough services, houses and crisis beds for the people who need them – is possible, but a whole-of-community approach is fundamental. As the state with the highest proportion of rough sleepers in Australia, we still have much work to do to end homelessness in WA. Whether it’s in the form of people advocating for what’s needed to assist the most vulnerable in our community, or through financial and other donations, we’re very grateful to have community support behind us.”

Samantha Drury, CEO of St Bart’s, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the power of practical support in restoring dignity and hope to individuals experiencing homelessness. “We believe that homelessness doesn’t define a person’s potential; it’s merely a chapter in their journey. Through our programs at St Bart’s, we empower individuals to reclaim their narratives and rewrite their stories with dignity and purpose.”

Sonshine CEO Bevan Jones says, as a community media organization, we have a real desire to help, and seeing such strong support from our Sonshine family has been overwhelming. “At Sonshine’s heart, we believe in extending warmth and compassion to those who need it most. Throughout May, together with St Pat’s, St Bart’s and Uniting WA, we asked our generous community to support vulnerable West Aussies by providing essential items to keep them safe, comfortable, and dignified. Together, we’re so pleased to have seen our community come together to make a significant impact on the lives of those sleeping rough in Perth.”

Thank you family!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the appeal, including our many collection points: Woodvale Baptist, Riverview Church, Mount Pleasant Baptist, St Stephens School Duncraig and Carramar, Courageous Church Butler, West Greenwood Primary School, Illawarra Primary School, Northshore Christian Grammar School, Shorehaven Primary School, New Life Fremantle, C3 Hepburn Heights, Lakeside Baptist, Titan Ford, Melville Mitsubishi, Ellenbrook Baptist Church, East Fremantle Baptist Church, Perth Bible College, Kalamunda Church of Christ, Centrepoint Church Bibra Lake and Maddington, Chosen Church, Providence Christian College and Perth Bible College.

A special thanks also goes to Velocity Church, who gave us their church facility as a place to gather, count and sort all of the Heart For The Homeless donations. Also a big thanks to the kids from St Stephen’s Duncraig who helped us sort and count the items… and thanks to Titan Ford who provided vans for us to collect and distribute the donations. We’re truly humbled by your support, and we know that our amazing partners at St Pat’s, St Bart’s and Uniting WA will make sure all of these items make a big impact on the lives of the thousands of West Aussies who are sleeping rough on any given night.

Heart for the Homeless – proudly supported by St Pat’s, St Bart’s, Uniting WA, St Stephens School, Titan Ford, Melville Mitsubishi and Sonshine.