“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
This was 23-year-old Nedd Brockmann’s mantra as he ran 3,953km in 47 days fundraising for not-for-profit organisation, We Are Mobilise, and advocating for people experiencing homelessness.
Setting out on 1 September 2022, running from Cottesloe Beach in Perth, WA across the Nullarbor to Bondi Beach in Sydney, NSW, Nedd has become the embodiment of the quintessential Australian spirit, whose drive to make a difference has resonated across the country and sparked the realisation for many that an everyday person can inspire change.
Distressed by conversations with people living rough in Sydney CBD, where sleeping bags and flattened cardboard line the storefronts at Central station, the electrician, formally of Forbes, western NSW, realised the need to pivot public attention to the uncomfortable truth that there are currently 116,427 people experiencing homelessness Australia-wide.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics describes homelessness as “One of the most potent examples of disadvantage in the community, and one of the most important markers of social exclusion.”
There are a multitude of reasons for people experiencing homelessness in Australia, such as domestic violence, addiction, unemployment, mental illness, limited or no support network and ever-increasing housing shortages. Noah Yang, Founder and Managing Director of We Are Mobilise, confirms that hundreds of conversations with our friends on the streets show that only one or two situations had to occur in a person’s life that would then lead to being homeless.
Throughout all their initiatives, We Are Mobilise is working hard to change the narrative around homelessness, offering trust, companionship, and conversation to those on the streets. Noah further explains that while there should not be a barrier between everyday society and these people there are many negative stereotypes around homelessness and a perception that they have made their own choices.
Nedd, whose ever-growing social media presence is helping to change these negative stereotypes, reached out to We Are Mobilise, in what they describe as a “serendipitous” moment for the grassroots organisation.
Like Nedd, We Are Mobilise have a shoot for the stars approach to advocacy.
They have big plans to expand from short term outreach programs, where over 500 volunteers use care packages as ice breakers to start conversations, to provide a holistic support system for people experiencing homelessness.
With Nedd inspiring $2.5 million in donations – far out stripping what he first called his “audacious goal” of $1 million – this is now a reality.
Noah confirms that with the life-changing fundraiser the organisation aims to rapidly scale their outreach program to amplify the direct impact they can make to their friends on the street.
Additionally, Noah says, is the launch of a new pilot with key partners to provide long term support.
Noah says: “We are developing an innovative Direct Giving pathway that will involve holistic support. “This includes an employment pathway coupled with legal and medical support and provision of direct funds to those experiencing homelessness.”
To join the We are Mobilise community and support with the launch of the Direct Giving pathway, click here.
To join Nedd in his advocacy for people experiencing homelessness click here.