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Shoes for the Shoeless

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Dantastic, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Dantastic

    Dantastic Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I am looking to conduct a survey on the state of homeless feet in our city. I have overwhelming support from homeless shelters around the city who are willing to have their staff distribute surveys and collect results. The aim (and I hope this is not too premature) is to find a way for homeless people to be given appropriate footwear and/or podiatric care. Maybe its just me, but I can't help but be moved when seeing a homeless man walking down the street on a cold morning with bits of torn-up blanket wrapped around his feet.

    Survey questions will be relatively general (and yet to be approved by an ethics board):

    How many pairs of shoes do you own?
    How old are the shoes you are wearing right now?
    Where did you get them?
    How far do you walk in one day?
    Would you like a new pair of shoes?
    What type of shoes would you prefer to wear?

    I was wondering if anyone knew of any programs in place that already address the need for shoes amongst the homeless? Does anyone know of any published material that relates to the feet of homeless people? :confused:

    I have heard that it takes 6-8 weeks for a homeless person to wear through a pair of shoes. (I read it on the internet so it must be true :rolleyes: )

    Thank you for any help
  2. Donna

    Donna Active Member

    Hi Dantastic

    I don't actually know of any programs that are running that address this issue :( , but if you haven't tried already, maybe contacting well known charities might dredge out some info - Salvation Army, Lifeline, St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross? They surely must keep records of how they distribute their donated goods including clothing and footwear :confused: Maybe they could help you out with how they assess the needs of homeless people, and who is entitled to what type of assistance...

    You've also probably found this already in your google searches but there is an article on a pod who provides treatment to the homeless... it's an old article, so I wonder if the program is still running...http://www.abc.net.au/dimensions/dimensions_health/Transcripts/s539165.htm

    Good luck and hope you find some good info somewhere :p


  3. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

    Hi Dantastic and Donna

    I would be very interested to know how you progress Dantastic. I believe inner city Sydney had some kind of service a while back and think Mandy McDonald was involved. Also Glasgow had a service too, and Glynis Tavener from Glasgow Caladonian University was involved. On a more grandieous scale Oprah Winfrey ran a project to give shoes to the homeless and convinced shoe companies to supply them free. This was before she became involved in the more recent New Orleans Disaster.

    Good luck mate
  4. mandy mcdonald

    mandy mcdonald Welcome New Poster

    Hi All
    Yes, Rob Kidd (then head of podiatry at Uni Western Sydney) and I (then president of APodA NSW) put together a weekly clinic for the Matthew Talbot Hostel, a home for the otherwise homeless and indigent. Equipment was donated and or provided at discount from main suppliers. This was run entirely by volunteer podiatrists and assisted by the nursing staff of the hostel. I think it is still running some 5years down the track.
    Also, when I was president, our Association members were asked to make their practices into clearing houses for their patients to drop off their good condition footwear that was no longer required. The collected footwear was then sent to Association HQ where we sorted/discarded, puffed with anti-bacterial/anti-fungal powder (generously supplied by drug company), boxed (generously supplied by large shoe retailers) and then collected by various charities for immediate distribution to their clientele. It was a lot of work and, although very worthwhile, was decided to only do it the once.
    Many years ago (25?) when I was still practicing in London, I did a monthly volunteer gig at Booth House, Salvation Army HQ in Whitechapel. I did keep extensive stats at the time with the intention of writing something up, you know how it is. Moved to Australia instead!
  5. Dantastic

    Dantastic Active Member

    Thanks for the suggestions so far... I have had a few meetings with The Salvation Army and other various hostels around the city. These meetings have been very helpful in terms of what to expect when dealing with homeless people, and how to go about it properly.

    I'm interested in the stats you collected. What categories did you cover? Did you notice anything worth following up?
  6. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

  7. Beth Gill

    Beth Gill Member

    Inner South Community Health in St Kilda has an outreach service that focuses on those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. I did a student placement with them in 2004. They seemed to organise shoes on a client-by client basis. They have good contacts with the local hostels and drop-in centres.
  8. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    I always thought I might write to infamous criminals (like Chopper Reid) as well as disgraced public figures (like Alan Bond) for a pair of their shoes for an exhibition, entitled "How would you like to be in there shoes?" I sure this could be put to good use especially if juxtaposed with black and white stills of bag people. A lot of the professional footie players will have boot deals and whilst there is a fair pressure on the more famous to get them to donate them to charity it may be worth while asking around. Similarly asking celebrities to donate their shoes for a charity auction might be a wheeze and would attract useful publicity.


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