Beddown Trial Turns Brisbane Car Park Into Homeless Shelter

Homelessness is growing ever prevalent in Australia and is common in large cities like Sydney and Brisbane. Homeless statistics indicate that one in every two hundred Australians will be homeless on any given night.

As shown in our social determinants of health webcast on housing, communities and neighbourhoods, a safe place to sleep is crucial to a person’s good health. Now, one man’s vision had led to a two week trial in Brisbane that saw a car park (usually empty at night) turn into a safe haven for Brisbane’s homeless.

Here’s what you need to know about the Beddown trial…

What is Beddown all about?

The aim of Beddown is to take spaces that are commonly used and busy during the day but at night are left vacant or empty. Beddown activates and repurposes the space at night into pop-up accommodation for the homeless.

Once a car park empties for the night, Beddown volunteers set up inflatable mattresses with bed linen and pillows. Beddown also works with other charitable organisations that provide services such as laundry and showers, food and beverages, health and wellbeing and clothing.

A range of service providers such as doctors, nurses, dentists and hairdressers also assist.

The Beddown trial

Having partnered with Australia’s largest car park provider, Secure Parking, who operate over 600 car parks across Australia and New Zealand, Beddown has recently completed a two-week trial in Brisbane. Every night volunteers turned the space into a pop-up homeless shelter for 15 homeless men and women and each night they saw the 15 people return to Beddown (formerly a Brisbane office car park).

Guests to Beddown were given toiletries, takeaway food donated by a local restaurant, and access to dentists and other service providers. Beth Pratt, a retired aged care nurse, was there every night of the trial and explained how it’s already started to change lives.

“We have had one young man that decided after a week of sleeping all night, not being there – booked himself into rehab,” she explained.

What’s next?

Beddown founder Norm McGillivray considers the experiment in a Brisbane car park a success and is now working on refining the operation for the next trial. He is also chasing corporate or government sponsors.

Learn more about Beddown here: www.beddown.org.au


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