At the launch of the Canberra Community Sleepout, Canberrans were challenged with a powerful message: sign up and wake up to a better Canberra as ‘homelessness is a social problem and not merely a government problem’.

The CEOs of Communities@Work, Lynne Harwood and the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, Paul Trezise, today announced that the third Canberra Community Sleepout will be held on Friday, 16 October and that a target of more than 1,000 registrations has been set.

"Homelessness is a serious issue, with nearly 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in the ACT. We rely on fundraising initiatives such as the Canberra Community Sleepout to provide the life-changing clothing, food, shelter and other essential supports to those most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community.” said Lynne Harwood, CEO of Communities@Work.

The St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn CEO, Paul Trezise expresses that “the Canberra Community Sleepout brings out the best in the people of Canberra. We have a caring community that wants a just and fair society.”

In any given suburb in Canberra, it is not difficult to find individuals and families who are experiencing hardship and this is evidenced in the amount of calls for support Communities@Work and the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn receive each week.

This year’s Sleepout highlights the correlation between homelessness and family violence. In the ACT nearly 29 %* of people experiencing homelessness are escaping family violence and relationship breakdowns. Michael Costigan from the Tara Costigan Foundation has pledged his support to the Canberra Community Sleepout.

Top team from the 2014 Sleepout, ‘Doing it for Kurt’ will also again be participating. The team was represented at the launch by Bryce Logan and Sophie Jarvis, who have a very strong emotional connection for supporting the Sleepout. “We are honouring our late friend Kurt Steel, who was very passionate about Canberra and making it a better place for all.”

In partnership, Communities@Work and the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn are raising awareness about homelessness in Canberra and are actively fundraising to continue to be able to provide much needed support and services to those who need it the most.

The Canberra Community Sleepout will be held on Friday 16 October at the Australian Institute of Sports, on the Track and Field Complex. The event invites and encourages individuals, teams, families, friends and colleagues to attend the evening and rough it out for the night. The event will include speeches, live music, coffee and tea, children’s activities,  storytelling and informative and motivational talks.

Head to www.sleepout.org.au to register!