A team of walkers from the QBE Adelaide office braved chilly conditions in support of Adelaide’s Hutt Street Centre’s Walk A Mile in My Boots initiative. It’s the fourth time QBE has been represented, and this year raised $3,638. This amount was matched by the QBE Foundation – meaning a total of $7,276 will go to support this cause.
The challenge was to collectively walk more than 6,000 miles (9,656km) – a mile for every person experiencing homelessness in South Australia. QBE has been supporting Hutt Street and its Aspire program for several years through the Premiums4Good program.
QBE LMI’s Regional Partnership Manager Dean Hoffmann said COVID-19 had an impact on this year’s event. “A number of us have been doing the walk for several years now – this was my fourth time. This year’s event was slightly different from other years in that we were not able to gather as we usually do – but instead arranged solo or small teams to participate. Despite this, our walks were still a powerful reminder of what the event is about.”
Krystine Evans, from QBE’s Adelaide office, who has also participated for a number of years now, said: “We are all a couple of bad decisions or unexpected events away from our lives turning upside down. This is especially apparent with everything that has gone on this year – such as extreme weather and COVID-19. In a crisis we have a tendency to retreat to our homes and our loved ones, but for some people there is nowhere to retreat - or the home may not be a place of safety.”
“Maybe the isolation of this year’s walk brought us all a little bit closer to knowing what it’s really like to walk a mile in someone’s boots,” she added.
QBE Senior Underwriter Kylie Easton said the event was particularly close to her heart, with homelessness having touched her family directly. “As a result of a car accident, my younger brother found himself on the streets some years ago. With a lot of support from family and organisations such as the Hutt Street Centre, he was able to complete tertiary education in disability care and move into a full-time carers role for a severely disabled friend.
“There are many people out there who have no one that can help, and organisations such as the Hutt Street Centre can offer meals, showers and laundry facilities, plus the goal of providing people with more permanent social housing. It also provides health professionals who volunteer their time, with training and employment programmes.”
QBE HR Partner Mel Trede said living close to the Hutt Street Centre has allowed her to get to know several people at the centre. “Putting faces and names to homelessness has taught me that it can happen to any of us - that circumstances can change often for reasons entirely out of our control. The support of the Hutt Street Centre goes a huge way in helping people to get back on their feet and to live a dignified life.
“The Hutt Street Centre provides essential services to members of my immediate community who absolutely deserve access to necessities so many of us take for granted. It’s easy for all of us to grumble about a bad day at work, but this pales in comparison to the challenges of those experiencing homelessness. It’s important and a privilege as an employee of QBE to be able to provide a small amount of support via initiatives such as these.”
The Aspire program helps people who are experiencing chronic homelessness. It connects people with sustainable housing, employment and community. It serves up to 600 people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in metropolitan Adelaide.
Find out more about QBE LMI in the community