After more than 8500 people opened their homes to those in need during the January bushfires, Find a Bed Australia hopes to go one step better during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New South Wales communications and community engagement worker, Erin Riley, founded Find a Bed Australia on New Year’s Eve 2019 after tweeting about a space she had for those being evacuated from their homes.
With a team of more than 54 volunteers across Australia, including a number in Perth, Find a Bed Australia is attempting to house as many people as they can, specifically healthcare workers, to assist with self-isolation.
“At the moment WA doesn’t have a scheme like New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland now do, so we get a lot of requests from Western Australia,” Ms Riley says.
“We have helped about five or six people in WA, but we have a lot more that we are trying to help.
“We have helped around 25 healthcare workers so far.”
According to Ms Riley, people are willing to open their homes, but self-contained accommodation is preferred and the government should be playing a part.
“There’s just a lot of people we can’t house and there’s a general feeling this should be a government thing,” she says.
“We are happy to help plug the gap as long as we need to, but we’re hoping in the long term we can get the government to do this job.”
University student, Alana Navratil, registered her property after finding out about Find a Bed Australia through a friend.
“To me it felt essential,” she says.
“I am personally struggling as well but there are people in worse off situations and need a nice warm place to stay.”
Five people have been interested in the accommodation Ms Navratil has offered and she says she has been touched by the experience.
“I have come from a background where it was always just take, take, take and I never really understood the power of and the necessity to give,” she says.
“Homelessness existed well before COVID-19 and I think as a country we need to actually help people around us.
“I think it’s an example of how understanding you are of your fellow human beings and how connected you are with humanity and what’s happening.”
Find a Bed Australia has generated a petition requesting help from the National Cabinet to fund healthcare workers wishing to stay outside their homes due to COVID-19.
To sign the petition go to findabed.com.au/petition.
To donate to Find a Bed Australia go to http://findabed.com.au/gofundme.