Beddown was founded by Norman McGillivray wanted to do something that would have a meaningful impact when it came to tackling homelessness.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 5, 2021. It has since been updated.
Homelessness is something that is rampant all over the world. In America, at least 17 out of every 10,000 people experience homelessness every day. An estimated 552,830 people are living in a state of homelessness currently, reported Policy Advice. Not having a roof over one's head will have an adverse impact on their physical as well as mental well-being. And even in the most "developed" countries, there are people who are forced to sleep on the streets and park benches. When Norman McGillivray noticed the homeless issue in Australia and saw that it was getting worse over the years, he decided to do something about it.
McGillivray was also personally impacted by homelessness. His father had passed away on the streets of London in the 1970s. It had initially shocked him to learn that there are more than 8,000 vulnerable people who sleep rough every night across Australia. He could not accept that this was still a problem in 2019 and in a first-world country like Australia. McGillivray decided he must do something about it and instead of the tried and tested methods of tackling homelessness, he wanted to do something that would have a more meaningful impact. And so he founded the non-profit, Beddown.
According to the Beddown website, "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 then activates and repurposes the space at night into pop-up accommodation to ensure the homeless, those who are sleeping rough are then able to come and get into a bed at night." They also work with other charitable organizations and provide complementary services such as laundry, showers, food & beverages, health & well-being, and even clothing. The first place they repurposed was the empty parking lot of local shopping centers.
The lightbulb moment came to McGillivray when he was at a shopping center and noticed how the parking lot was completely empty. He saw the potential it held and an idea about how it can be utilized crept into him. He soon had one of Australia's largest car park operators, Secure Parking on board and the rest was history. “Nothing is going to stop me now from bringing Beddown to as many people across Australia as possible," McGillivray told 7 News. Together they started converting Australia's parking lots into safe sleeping spaces for homeless people who could then get a good night's sleep.
“We will look to get as close as we can to a proper comfortable bed to provide the homeless with a great night’s sleep is our ultimate goal," Beddown stated according to Bored Panda. "Sleep deprivation is a massive issue for our homeless, so being in a place that offers shelter and is safe, secure, and comfortable we believe will have a big impact on those who use Beddown.” The project was initially launched on a trial basis and the people who utilized the service were pleased with it. “It’s been a long time since I had a decent night’s sleep,” one person said. “After all of the things I need to do each day, lying in bed reminds me of the wonder of life.”
Beth Pratt, a retired aged care nurse, was there at Beddam's pilot project every day. “We have had one young man that decided after a week of sleeping all night, not being out there - he booked himself into rehab,” she explained about how it's already started to change people's lives. Inflatable beds are provided with clean sheets every night. They can be placed and removed very quickly, so they do not affect the parking business, in addition to being located in safe and clean places. Hundred percent of the guests who stayed there safe. You can help support this initiative by donating here.