Business and community leaders all over Australia will sleep out to raise money and show support  for Australia’s homeless population for this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday 18 June.

In Canberra, the funds raised from the event support Vinnies programs like Clemente, an adult education program run in partnership with the Australian Catholic University.

‘Clemente provides an opportunity for people who have experienced disadvantage to re-enter education, or perhaps experience tertiary education for the first time in their lives,’ said Barnie van Wyk, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

For Charlie, Clemente has provided mental stimulation and activities to fill his days.

Due to his chronic mental health condition Charlie fell into homelessness and has been living in crisis accommodation for several months. Without an occupation his mental health condition was exacerbated, so Clemente has kept him grounded and focused.

‘Clemente was a way to fill my day. I learned we were going to study philosophy, which I had done years ago at uni,’ said Charlie referring to the Fine Arts degree he holds.

‘I’m really enjoying the course and doing really well with it. It’s rewarding to achieve good results and rewarding to have activities to fill days. I’ve enjoyed studying philosophy as a way to get back into the Arts, and realise that my early days at uni were helpful!’ he said.

‘It’s been grounding to study ethics and humanity, and good to check in on my moral compass.’

Charlie has now completed his first semester of Clemente, moved into transitional accommodation through CatholicCare and picked up some part time work. He intends to continue studying in the Clemente program as he has found it incredibly rewarding.

‘I found more and more reasons I was doing it as I got into it. It’s really well set up and provides a hell of a lot to a lot of people.’

‘Without the generosity of those people participating in and sponsoring the Vinnies CEO Sleepout we wouldn’t be able to run the breadth of services we do in Canberra,’ said Mr van Wyk.

‘We work with people experiencing homelessness, providing food and material aid to those sleeping rough as well as helping them find secure housing. But we also offer programs to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and offering pathways out of poverty and homelessness,’ he said.

10 June 2020

Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a national event occurring 18 June 2020 raising funds for Vinnies services and highlighting issue of homelessness.

To sign up or donate visit www.ceosleepout.org.au