Joe Hildebrand goes ‘undercover’ to raise awareness of homelessness.
Channel Ten media personality Joe Hildebrand has taken part in a social experiment for The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal.
“Over 100,000 Australians are homeless and to a lot of us they’re invisible,” says Joe. “So I decided to go to the extreme and dress up as that stereotypical image of a homeless person in the tattered trench coat to see just how invisible I was and how people treated me.”
Joe was made to look unrecognisable before hitting Melbourne’s streets to experience homelessness first-hand.He was surprised by what he found out.
“It was actually a really confronting and debilitating experience. When you make yourself look like you don’t belong, you actually feel like you don’t belong. I felt so transparent,” says Joe.
“What was amazing though was the generosity of people. I only had to sit in the same spot for a few minutes before someone came up and gave me money.”
He also recognised that most homeless people aren’t living and sleeping on the streets. “The fastest growing group is women and children fleeing abuse and young people under the age of 35.”
Homelessness is a significant social problem in Australia with 105,000 Australians (including 44,000 young people under the age of 25) homeless every night.
A new study by The Salvation Army suggests only 7 per cent of people see homelessness an important issue to them. A further one in five Australians believes that being homeless is a personal choice.
This year The Salvation Army is asking Australians to dig deep to help end homelessness now by supporting the Red Shield Appeal.
Donations to the Red Shield Appeal not only help The Salvation Army assist thousands of people affected by homelessness every week but also provide hundreds of services and programs that aim to support people before they become homeless.
This year The Salvation Army needs to raise $74m through the Red Shield Appeal to continue to provide support to more than one million people every year. Donations can be made by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or by clicking here.
Whatch Joe's experience below.