Street Swags
An innovative bed and a bag designed for people living on the streets

“I designed the Street Swag in 2005 because I felt it wasn’t good enough that people in my community were sleeping on concrete each night,” says Jean Madden. “My unique portable bed was designed to ease some of the health issues related to homelessness and sleeping rough.”

A bed and bag with room for belongings, Street Swags are made of lightweight, waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress. It offers its users a degree of comfort, warmth, and protection from the weather. Designed for those living on the streets, its discreet appearance offers some safety for those who need to be ‘invisible.’ The simplicity of the design enables low-skilled workers to manufacture the swags efficiently while minimizing waste of raw materials.

Street Swags has empowered and brought together all levels of the community. Corporate and private entities donate funds. Prisoners sew, gaining work readiness skills and recognized qualifications. Aboriginal communities gain government employment, home industry skills, and a finished product for their families. School children roll and pack Street Swags with blankets, pillows, hygiene packs, and knitted winter essentials as part of their school’s Social Justice Program. Numerous aid organizations such as St. Vincent De Paul and Salvation Army, hospitals, community groups, and volunteers distribute them across Australia.

“This is how I have been able to give away over 10,000 Street Swags to those sleeping rough. This community network recently allowed me to have hundreds of Street Swags ready for the Victorian bush fire victims within hours of their becoming homeless.”

“The world economic crisis means a world homelessness crisis. Like a Soup Kitchen, Street Swags are about keeping people alive. We have begun making Street Swags for aid and emergency relief organizations outside Australia. We are working to set up industry and microfinance in Kolkata and East Timor to increase production.”

Designed by
Jean Madden, Street Swags Ltd - Brisbane, Australia