Ruby’s Therapeutic Youth Service will host the Pride in Your Stride community walk on Friday 9 August, marching through the streets of Mt Gambier and taking donations of shoes to raise awareness of homelessness and lack of affordable housing.

The walk will be held during this year’s Homelessness Week, where the theme is ‘Housing Ends Homelessness’. The Ruby’s team hopes that the community will join forces to show its support and shine a light on what can be a hidden issue.

‘The Limestone Coast is seeing an ever-increasing demand for affordable housing,’ says Ruby’s Service Manager, Bryan Atherton. ‘A person experiencing homelessness faces the daily dilemma of having to move from wherever they are and walk to find something to eat or somewhere else to sleep, in all types of weather.

‘Pride in Your Stride is a creative way to raise awareness of the challenges people experiencing homelessness face day to day, while also bringing attention to the fact that there is a network of services available to help.’

Run by Uniting Communities, Ruby’s has a first-hand insight into the difficult task of young people finding long-term, stable accommodation. The service aims to keep young people out of the homelessness sector by supporting them and their families to resolve conflict. Young people can spend some nights at Ruby’s supervised accommodation, as well as at home, while the family undergoes counselling.

Ruby’s Youth Worker, Dawn Cardona, came up with the idea of having young people at Ruby’s decorate shoes and donate them to people in need during Homelessness Week. Good quality footwear can make a huge difference to someone experiencing homelessness, and is also representative of how the young people at Ruby’s are walking alongside them on their own journeys.

‘We’re strongly encouraging community services, schools and the general public to get involved by walking with us and donating a pair of shoes, if possible,’ says Ms Cardona. ‘We had a great response to our inaugural event, with close to 40 people participating and donating more than 50 pairs of shoes to local community services organisation, ac.care.’

ac.care is collaborating with Ruby’s for this year’s event, along with Rapid Relief Team (RRT) who will provide a free barbeque lunch for the community.

‘We hope that this event will inspire questions, encourage conversations and in turn lead to the community using their voices to call on our political leaders and local MPs,’ says Mr Atherton. ‘We need to give the issue of homelessness the attention that it deserves and make changes that will positively impact those in our community who don’t have a place to call home.’

The walk will commence at 11 am Vansittart Park, on the Commercial Street side of the corner of Commercial and Wehl Streets. Participants are asked to gather at 10.45 am. Uniting Communities Incorporated trading as Uniting Communities ABN 33 174 490 373 www.unitingcommunities.org

It will then proceed to the ac.care Community Centre on Ferrers Street, with the free barbeque lunch served from 11.30 am.

For more information

Sharon Gray
Therapeutic Youth Coordinator, Ruby’s – Uniting Communities
8725 4383

Bryan Atherton
Service Manager, Ruby’s – Uniting Communities
8202 5275