Progess Illinois: Homeless Chicagoans in Uptown to receive free backpack beds


The charity Swags for Homeless will give out its Backpack Beds to about 40 homeless people in Chicago by the end of this week.

Last week, Tony Clark, founder of the Australia-based charity, distributed some of the beds, which fold up into a backpack, to people facing homelessness in Uptown. This is the first time the charity came to the country to give them out, DNAinfo Chicago reported.

“No one should be on the street in the richest country, but for those who are on the street, the Backpack Bed is a life saver,” Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Edward Shurna told the news site. (CCH helped the Australian charity connect with service providers and the media while Clark was in Chicago.)

Backpack Beds, which costs $70 a piece to make, were released to the market in 2009 and became popular with service organizations in other countries such as New Zealand and Australia. Now they are gaining traction in the United States.

Individuals and organizations can purchase them, and donations help the charity distribute them for free.

Clark is expected to hand out more of the beds in places in California and New York, among others, before he goes back to Australia.