Nick Pearce a 24-year-old Box Hill resident, was recently awarded for his dedication to the homeless cause by taking out the Victorian Young Achiever Award for leadership.
The Rotary Club of Camberwell were privileged to have this impressive young Australian present to them at this week’s meeting. The former Trinity Grammar student with friends founded Streetwear clothing store, HoMie in 2015.
HoMie started with Nick and a group of his friends talking to people who were living on the streets and recognising a real need to assist. In the street vernacular a HoMie is a person who looks out for others.
Nick explained in Australia there are 105,000 homeless persons and half of these are under 25 years. Contrary to popular belief only 6% of the homelessness is due to drugs. However the real risk is the need to break the circle in youth as people older than 25 years tend to be locked into chronic homelessness.
HoMie has the goals of making donating easy for the public and to make receiving dignified for those in need. HoMie branded apparel was born and now produces HoMie beanies, t-shirts and long sleeve tops in return for much needed funds.
In June 2015 a store in Melbourne Central became the home to the first ever HoMie Street Store and it now operates out of their Fitzroy clothing store. As for its social impact, the HoMie Street Store aims to eradicate local homelessness through its retail training and employment program. This sees young people trained as retail workers who have previously, or are currently, experiencing homelessness. Trainees spend 3 to 6 months in store and obtain a Certificate 111 in Retailing. They then graduate to a position in Cotton On stores.
Nick commented he and his partners have now come full circle from their younger days of bicycling around Asia fund raising to assist in eradicating child trafficking in Cambodia and Vietnam.
“We have learnt to succeed in assisting the homeless you have to make your programs permanent, easy and meaningful. Also people learn from living, learning and earning.”
He believes we need to view people living in the street in a different light. They are not a homeless person but a person experiencing homelessness. The plight of people experiencing homeliness on our streets has been brought to our attention in an entirely different light by Nick Pearce.
We and our community are indebted to the innovative and pioneering work of the young HoMie team who against the odds are making a real difference and are an inspiration to the young and old alike.