Former Matildas star Julie Murray is set to take part in her second ‘Sports Stars Sleepout’ fundraising event supported by The Chappell Foundation on August 1st to raise funds for the homeless youth as 2021 will see a twist due to COVID restrictions with the ex-Footballer to swap the SCG with sleeping either in the backyard or on a couch at her home.
Its inaugural event saw $57,000 raised with 19 athletes while in its second year the figure went up to $110,000.
Despite these trying times this year, Murray is hopeful that this event can raise even more important funds.
“I never thought twice about supporting The Chappell Foundations Sports Stars Sleepout this year, in fact I’d be keen to do a whole lot more in raising awareness and much needed funds for tackling youth homelessness,” Murray told Football NSW.
“The issue resonated so strongly with me given the unthinkable thought of my young boys being homeless, for any number of reasons.
“This year also highlighted to me that a lot of our youth are “couch surfing” each and every night and that the 15 to 24 years old’s are the most common age group to experience couch surfing and, sadly, 60% of them tend to me vulnerable women.
“Unfortunately couch surfers are hidden figures and not picked up by census figures however it is estimated about 10% of youth homelessness are “couch surfers”, so close to 4000 youths. A sad reality that must be addressed.”
The 2021 ‘Sports Stars Sleepout’ will take a new approach following COVID restrictions currently at play in Greater Sydney with athletes now set to sleep rough at home, either in their backyard or on a couch.
This showcases another sad side of youth homelessness; those who couch surf until they are asked to move on. This is a widespread and often unseen aspect to homelessness; people are not always sleeping on the streets. But even when youths are able to spend a night or two with people they know, the uncertainty and stress of having no permanent home remains.
“Unfortunately the COVID restrictions have meant that the sleepout will not take place at the SCG, rather in the homes of all participants whether that be on their couch, decks or outside.
“The positive for this however is the ability to have a greater number of sports stars participate across the country.
“Essentially this year’s restrictions will mimic the ‘couch surfing’ scenario and will be held virtually.”
Having won an incredible 67 caps for the Green and Gold, Murray will be supported by a number of other high-profile athletes and footballers who too will be taking part in this special cause.
“I reached out to several legends of the Matildas and Olympians to assist and they have graciously accepted to support the event, they are Sunni Hughes, Kate McShea, Melissa Barbieri, Dianne Clearly (nee Alagich) and Alicia Ferguson.
“It’s great to have these sports stars show their help as the main objective is to help The Chappell Foundation raise awareness and more importantly money that goes to the wonderful charities that they support.
“The Chappell Foundation exists to fight the blight of youth homelessness and today supports seven frontline charities that give shelter, food, education and training, healthcare and a fresh start for young Australians.”
The Football community is known for sticking together especially in the tough times but in this case, Murray is hoping that the sport can get behind this cause in raising funds for the homeless youth.
“These are trying times for the most vulnerable among us. It can be hard enough when you have a home and a supportive family. Imagine having neither. Imagine having none of the life skills to deal with that. Right now there is a crisis out there and it is only going to get worse when welfare support is withdrawn.
“In “good” times there are an estimated 40,000 kids without a permanent address. In times like these there are many more. We don’t even know how many. COVID lockdowns have added to the strain on dysfunctional families, kids who supported themselves by casual employment have lost their jobs and things are going to get worse.
“It’s hard to know who to give money to and whose stories you hear, The Chappell Foundation works hard to ensure all the money raised goes to charities who use it well. The foundation itself is run by volunteers and has almost no overheads at all so the money gets to where it has to go.
“I recognise and acknowledge there are many people doing it tough across Australia right now with all of the COVID restrictions in place right now. I’d like to think those that can, will donate even the smallest amount, it all adds up and will definitely support the youth who find themselves in this unthinkable position.”
Can you help Julie Murray help the most vulnerable among us? You can donate or share Julie’s page via the following link: https://www.sportsstarssleepout.com/juliemurray