IRIS ZHANG AND TRISH KETELS
Brisbane residents will be in for a fashion treat today as workers and students around the city put on their daggiest jumper to help support homeless youth.
Daggy Jumper Day is the brainchild of the Brisbane Youth Service, which has scheduled the day on Friday August 7 to coincide with Homeless Week, which runs from August 2 to 8.
Brisbane Youth Service (BYS) hope the event will not just raise awareness about youth homelessness, but will assist young people to secure safe accommodation and build a brighter, better future.
The event aims to shine a spotlight on issues faced by homeless and vulnerable young people in Brisbane who are sleeping rough this winter.
BYS is challenging participants to get on social media and challenge their friends to take a stand against youth homelessness by posting a photo of themselves in their daggiest jumpers.
Schools are encouraged to get on board with a daggy jumper free dress day, taking gold coin donations for the privilege of getting out of uniform and into their daggiest winter woolies.
Businesses are also in on the fun, pulling their daggy best on over their usual work attire.
BYS is even challenging workplaces to do their weekly Zoom meeting in full daggy fashion.
It sounds like a bit of fun for when it’s cold outside, but the issue of youth homelessness is a serious one, especially in winter.
The 2016 ABS Census figures revealed that more than 4,454 young people aged between 12 and 24 years old were homeless in Queensland.
BYS CEO Annemaree Callander is calling on the community to support Daggy Jumper Day 2020 to help the organisation meet the needs of these young people and young families who are experiencing homelessness.
“We’re currently experiencing a significant increase in demand for our services and need the support of the community to ensure we can provide safe housing and vital support for vulnerable young people,” said Ms Callander.
The organisation hopes to raise $20,000 through their Daggy Jumper Day campaign.
BYS say donations will be used in training, employment and education support to help young people get over barriers caused by disadvantage.
They will also help young people moving out of homelessness into housing by buying essential furniture and household items.
Donations will also be used for emergency relief for young people in crisis.
Rainworth State School is one of the Brisbane schools taking part in Daggy Jumper Day.
Rainworth State School Deputy Principal Cassandra Clarke said the school decided to take part in the fundraising event to educate their students about youth homelessness.
“Our school joined this initiative as a way of educating our students to know that not all children have a house and warm clothes,” Mrs Clarke said.
“Friday August 7 will be a day when our students can wear old, daggy jumpers to understand the plight of children who do not have the same clean clothes and homes that they do,” she said.
“We are looking forward to collecting the gold coin donations and sending them to the Brisbane Youth Services to help young people who are in need.”
According to BYS, the funds are much needed.
The number of young people seeking support from Brisbane Youth Service has increased by 20 per cent in the past three years, a situation that has worsened since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
While COVID-19 shutdowns ground large sections of the country to a halt, calls for support to BYS doubled.
Brisbane Youth Service has been providing free, confidential services to Brisbane youth since 1977, including crisis and transitional housing, emergency relief, medical clinic and mental health services, street outreach, specialist young women’s services, and parenting and family assistance.
While face-to-face services were largely suspended, the Fortitude Valley Hub remained open and young people continued to be supported in BYS owned shelters, transitional properties, and community housing.
BYS CEO Annemaree Callander said in a statement that the situation for young homeless people worsened during the pandemic.
“At the peak of the pandemic, we saw not only an increase in demand but also [in] the severity of the situations experienced by young people accessing our services,” Ms Callander said.
To find out more about Daggy Jumper Day or for information about how to donate, visit daggy.com.au
For more information about Brisbane Youth Service visit https://brisyouth.org/.