TURNING a negative situation into a positive one can be a hard task but Steve Harvey knows first hand how to go about it. At the age of 28 and living in Perth, Steve was only a few months ago working as a diamond driller.
That all ended when he lost his job and became homeless. “I’ve been in mining for quite a few years. I lived the high life and then I lost my job,” he said. He could no longer afford his lavish lifestyle, not wanting to go on the dole, Steve decided to do the unthinkable and become homeless.
Now, in an attempt to raise awareness, he is walking solo with no support vehicle from Mandurah WA to Sydney. “I’ve never been big on going on the dole and so I thought I’d make myself homeless and support the cause.What better way to support homelessness than doing it yourself” he said. Steve’s Coast to Coast walk is raising funds for the national charity Swags for Homeless. Swags for Homeless provide Backpack Beds -life saving emergency outdoor beds for street sleeping homeless sleeping without shelter.
Steve is hoping to raise $11,000 for at least 100 Backpack Beds for the homeless people of Western Australia.
Steve is also sleeping in a Backpack Bed during his walk. “I’m giving myself three to four months to complete it. I chose Swags for Homeless as the charity I would support as they help those at the end of the line, the ones who are turned away by emergency accommodation or for those that don’t even have that option. In winter these Backpack Beds, like the one I am using on my journey,keep people warm, save lives and give them some dignity. “ Steve had originally started his walk in May but became very ill with tonsillitis, became very badly dehydrated and had to return back to Perth. He started again on June 15 and aims to return to Perth on November 17, his birthday. Steve said the start of the walk was the hardest part for him as it was physically tough. “As my body got used to it, it became hard mentally, just being away from everyone, being on your own – just dealing with the stresses of isolation, I guess,” he said.
“I have done enough soul searching over the year and a bit, so I’m pretty comfortable in myself. I don’t think I’d be able to do this if I wasn’t.”I wanted this more to prove (to myself) that I could fall back on myself that no matter what situation you get in, it’s you that will help you get out of it.”
Steve realizes that upon his return to Perth he will need to look for work and get on with life but for the moment he is focused on the Swags for the Homeless. “It’s a bit daunting (finishing the walk) because I have nothing, I got rid of everything, I have no house, nothing back there, so I have to go back and start again, it will be hard but…” he said philosophically. “The support for the swags has been great. People have been donating and it’s mainly word by mouth and through facebook.” Over the course of his long walk Steve is asking for the community to show their support and get behind him.
“Please jump on board, support me and help get me through this,” he said.
“I need support from people along the way like a place where I can wash my clothes or sleep the night.”
Steve will be walking through Victoria this September to keep updated you can follow his journey on Facebook www.facebook.com/Harveyswalk or donate directly to his cause http://fundraise.swags.org.au/event/harveyswalk