Steve Harvey: Walking for Homelessness

24.07.15 Grow, Learn Blog SumoSalad

This winter, SumoSalad have teamed up with Vinnies to make a difference in the lives of Australians experiencing homelessness. Another great Aussie looking to increase homelessness awareness is Steve Harvey, who after becoming homeless himself has decided to walk across Australia to highlight the issue and help fundraise to make a difference.

After losing his job in Western Australia’s mines and without much more work around, Steve Harvey wasn’t left with many options. He looked around for work, but after not being able to find any viable alternatives, decided to spontaneously walk out his front door and see what happened.

“Recently I had to go and live on the streets for a week here and there. When you find yourself without a job, and after a couple of weeks you can’t pay the rent what do you do? I just decided one day to walk out the door. I’m going to become homeless, and it’s going to be hard, but it’s also a great story to tell and raise awareness,” Steve said.

Steve has slowly been forming what the journey ahead for his Coast to Coast Homeless Awareness Walk looks like as he’s made his way south from Perth, meeting with different shelters and charities, and relying on the kindness of those he meets to help him with a feed or a shelter over his head.

While there were many possibilities for how he could get from Perth to Sydney, he’s chosen to follow the southern coastal line in order to pass through the majority of Australia’s capital cities and meet as many people as possible who can learn more about homelessness from his personal journey.

It’s also for his own safety, as he’s already experienced, walking 30kms a day with 30kgs to carry can be incredibly taxing on the body, and as he is walking alone being close to townships and assistance is very important.

Steve explains, “Before I started the walk I was running about 5kms a day and doings some sit-ups and push-ups and I thought I was pretty fit, but once I started the walk with 30kms a day and close to 30kgs on your back it’s pretty hard. I’ve toned up a lot now and I’m getting stronger and fitter all the time.

“Walking from Pemberton to Northcliff was all back roads and really hilly, without many people around. I pushed too hard and my knee gave out. That was a couple of weeks ago now, so that’s all healed up now and I’ve been given a new pair of boots which is really good for my legs and my feet.”

Steve is fundraising for Backpack Beds by Swags for Homeless, a bed designed specifically for emergency sleeping, when people’s options are completely exhausted. Steve is using the bed along his journey, with the goal of raising enough to buy 100 Backpack Beds which can then be passed on to shelters for emergency distribution.


As one of the leading providers of homeless services, Vinnies Australia’s goal is to assist people to end the cycle of homelessness by providing them with the skills to rebuild their lives and ultimately lead independent lives in private or assisted accommodation.

Unfortunately with government funding to support these services recently being cut back, this can be increasingly difficult. Vinnies relies on the support of the public to ensure such services can continue to function.

This shortage of stable accommodation solutions was recently highlighted by the SMH, which found that almost 90 per cent of women’s refuges in NSW are full.

Steve has been lucky to meet many people along his journey so far who have helped him out with a place to stay or eat, including our own franchisee Scott Waight when he recently passed through Esperance.

“I was inspired by our work with Vinnies this season to help out on more homeless initiatives, so when I heard about Steve’s walk and that he would be passing through town, I instinctively wanted to find a way to help,” Scott said.

Scott from SumoSalad Esperance fed Steve for much of his week long stay in Esperance, along with helping him set-up additional fundraising initiatives with the local community.

Steve says the Pulled Pork Wrap is his favourite SumoSalad menu item, and will be enjoying a free feed at any of our SumoSalad stores for the rest of his journey to help support him along the way.

The road ahead has another 2,500km, which has Steve anticipating he’ll finish the walk to Sydney in November in time for his birthday.

Steve says of the walk, “My friends think I’m crazy, but it’s a great adventure. It’s changed me and I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to do something like this.”

We are looking forward to meeting Steve at the end of his walk and look forward to the Pulled Pork Wrap Party to celebrate.

Learn more about Steve Harvey’s Coast to Coast Walk for Homeless & Backpack Beds

Donate to Vinnies Australia to support long term housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness


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