01:13am Thursday 16 July 2020

Student sleeps on the streets to help homeless

From 10 July, the 23-year-old will swap his bed on campus at the University for the cold ground of Melbourne’s CBD for his ’20 Cold Nights’ campaign.

“There’s a disillusion of what homelessness is in Australia and I want to try and change that perception through this challenge,” Mr Beer said.

Nathan Beer will sleep on the streets of Melbourne to raise awareness of homelessness. Photo supplied

Nathan Beer

“People think homelessness is a life decision and a consequence due to things like drug or alcohol abuse, but the majority of the homeless are regular people who have experienced unfortunate events in their life that have led them to lose that basic human right of a roof over their head.” 

The third year student was “inspired by personal circumstances” to take on the challenge, having experienced bullying in his share house which led him to feel uncomfortable in his own home.

“It was terrible for my mental state to stay in that house, but I’m from Griffith so I wasn’t able to just go home to my support networks. I tried applying for public housing but was faced with a waiting list of up to two years and it got to the point where I almost had to squat at university.

“I was soon lucky enough to get a spot living on campus and I’m happily still living there now, but I won’t forget how easy it could have been for me to end up on the streets.”

He said he chose to do his 20 Cold Nights challenge in Melbourne as it is one of “the epicentres of homelessness, and because I thought it would be a challenge due to the cold weather and that I don’t know anyone there who can take me in.”

Whilst Mr Beer’s campaign is mainly about awareness, he is also raising funds for The Lighthouse Foundation of Melbourne, who support homeless youth. For more information visit his fundraising page.

Mr Beer’s 20 Cold Nights campaign conditions:
1. He must not use any personal belongings, accounts or services to help him during the 20 days.
2. He can document the campaign using a camera and laptop, but must not use these devices for personal or recreational use.
3. He cannot reveal his identity and agenda in order to receive aid.
4. He must go about his day the same as any other homeless person.
5. He must not partake in any illegal activities whilst campaigning.

University of Canberra

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