Newtopian Dream

Last month, Mark Jensen slept 'rough' in Newtown to help raise awareness for affordable housing and homelessness. It was for the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre's Newtopian Dream campaign.

Salmon & Bear donated all of the Newtown restaurant's 'corkage' from July & August as well as making a $500 donation to ensure Mark raised well over $1000. Here's what he thought of the whole experience...

"My experience sleeping rough was quite profound.  We are so caught up in our own busy lives I don’t think we ever stop and consider the many reasons why people are sleeping rough.  We assume they have a choice.  Unfortunately, without the support of friends and family, one unforeseen event can see people’s lives spiral out of control.  It was a privilege to hear from a brave mother and daughter who shared their story of how they ended up on the street and to meet and hear from the frontline workers from the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre who continue to support them.

Having slept rough for one night I can’t begin to imagine how people do this day after day, week after week.  I felt safe.  We slept in a fenced off enclosure with a couple of security guards patrolling throughout the night. I didn’t sleep well.  The sound of the pedestrian crossing beep, beep, beep is now permanently etched in my mind.  Funny the noise of the passing trains didn’t bother me so much but I was acutely aware of the sirens and the cars accelerating from the traffic lights.  I can also tell you a piece of cardboard does not make a comfortable mattress.

Imagine sleeping without protection, not knowing if you will be robbed or worse.  I wouldn’t think you’d get much good quality sleep at all.  Now imagine waking, finding a toilet and cleaning yourself up. What’s for breakfast? I truly have a new understanding of the difficulties rough sleepers face."