Brisbane’s cold snap on the weekend has prompted a plea for public help.

Street Swags provides sleeping bags for homeless people turned away from shelters.

But it says it needs more funds to keep pace with the sudden demand.

Cameron Kirby reports.


It may not be a bed, hot shower or food but this Brisbane invention is saving lives.

A swag designed specifically for people living on the streets provides some protection from the worst elements.

For those living rough, it’s a fast downhill spiral.

Jean Madden, Street Swag Founder: “Pneumonia and death caused by living outdoors and without that adequate protection is a big killer on our streets and it is right now.”

Street Swags has provided protection for more than twenty-eight thousand people in the last nine years.

Five thousand swags are produced each year but help is needed to keep up with demand.

Jean Madden, Street Swag Founder: “We have to increase our production because our waiting list is always about one and a half to two thousand people long.”

As the winter months approach the Street Swag provides a sense of safety and protection from the elements.

For those that are looking for shelter and turned away it helps them through a cold night on the streets.

Wendy Hovard is the Manager of 139 Club in Fortitude Valley.

It provides day services for the homeless.

Wendy Hovard, 139 Club manager: “I think providing some sort of shelter and comfort for sleeping. So streets swags are certainly a part of that provision.”

The Salvation Army often has people turn up at their door looking for shelter.

Michelle Davis, Welfare Worker: “If we can’t find anywhere to stay then a few people have been sleeping out the front of the building here. We have some swags at the moment and basically it’s just that sort of situation.”

Demand only increases in winter.

Jean Madden is asking people to donate to

Jean Madden, Street Swag founder: “Every sixty dollars saves someone’s life this winter.”

Cameron Kirby Qut News