Mission Australia’s new fundraising campaign urges Australians to donate in the lead up to Christmas to provide support to families experiencing homelessness.

Produced with ISentia the campaign tells the true story of Craig* his wife Laura* and young daughter Sophie* who were forced to sleep in a tent in an inner-city park last Christmas when they could not find a safe, affordable place to live. After moving between relatives’ and friends’ homes and being unable to find shelter where they could stay together as a family, rough sleeping was their only option.

When a Missionbeat worker came across the family, fortunately they were able to secure crisis accommodation for them quickly. For the first time in over a week, Craig, Laura and Sophie had a roof over their heads, the privacy of their own shower and bathroom and food in the fridge.

Knowing that this solution was only temporary, however, the Missionbeat driver introduced the family to a case manager, who helped Craig and Laura complete job training and other courses and apply for work and permanent housing.

Supported by a strong network of care, the family continues to take crucial steps each day towards becoming self-sufficient and independent.

Reflecting on the experience, Craig said: “I never used to understand how people became homeless. I thought you’d have to be pretty reckless to end up like that. I never thought it would happen to me and my family. I don’t know where we’d be without Missionbeat. They’re like guardian angels on wheels.”

The advertisements offer a powerful statement: “Many families’ only wish this Christmas is to have a safe and secure home. More than 7,000 families will be homeless this Christmas, including over 17,000 children. You have the power to make a real difference for families in desperate need this year. Please donate today.”

Mission Australia’s General Manager Fundraising and Marketing, Elvira Lodewick, said the campaign depicts the challenges faced by families experiencing homelessness and the importance of charitable donations to support families in need.

This family have expressed how grateful they are to have a roof over their heads, and to know that they’ll be safe this Christmas, she said

“Many of us take our independence for granted, but there are too many Australian families who won’t have a safe place to call home this Christmas. With the support of donors, Mission Australia can support families like Craig’s on their journey to independence, not just at Christmas but all year,” said Ms Lodewick.

Ms Lodewick continued, “We simply can’t do the work we do without our supporters who donate to ensure we can continue to provide support for the thousands of families that will be homeless this Christmas.”

Launched on 8 October, the campaign includes a direct mail appeal created by Mission Australia and is set to run on television, outdoor, print and digital advertisements as planned by Customedia until the end of 2017.

Mission Australia has more than 155 years of practical and proven experience in working with Australians in need. The organisation invests in housing, services and programs to reduce homelessness and strengthen communities, walking beside people and families until they can stand on their own. In 2015-2016 Mission Australia assisted 18,529 people through 62 homelessness services, including Mission Australia Housing.

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*Names changed to protect the identity of the people we help.

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