Homelessness doesn’t have one box

Monday 28 March 2022

Daniel Munk is the Chief Executive Officer of the Aster Group, an Illawarra hospitality group overseeing Wests Illawarra and Port Kembla Golf Club.

Taking part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout each year since 2015, Daniel is urging fellow business and community leaders to pledge their support and gain a renewed perspective for the things most people take for granted.

  • Greater understanding

“One of things that has come through over the years is that homelessness can be invisible and each year the stories are different,” Daniel explains.

“Homelessness is impacted by so many things; it’s not just mental health, its economics, domestic violence, loss of job, loss of home.

“As a member of the community, it’s important for me to understand that it’s far wider than I thought it was.

“A person sleeping on the street is just one aspect of the homeless situation; [it can be] five to eight people in a room, two women and their kids in a one-bedroom apartment, women with their children sleeping in cars.

“Homelessness doesn’t have one box.”

  • A place to call your own

“The whole sleepout has widened the perspective and made me realise that I was avoiding the issue - not them, me.”

“It’s understanding the privilege of having a place that you call your own with your own bed.”

“There are others out there that would be grateful to know that they’ve got a room that they feel secure in, where they can leave their valuables and know that they’re still safe, and know that if there’s noise around them, they’re not at risk.

“That to me is a simple human right, but we have people in our incredibly wealthy country that don’t know where they’re going to sleep, don’t know if they’re going to have that room tomorrow and don’t know that they’re secure.

“I don’t think that’s something that’s reasonable.”

  • The night itself

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a great way to expand community relationships.”

“There’s so many positives to the whole experience, both with what you can do with those peer-to-peer relationships, but also what you can do with your staff, your story and the journey of your business.

“The night and the sleeping aren’t pleasurable, but it’s also a great reminder as an individual of what you have and what you should appreciate.

“It’s one night out of the year and it’s your choice; the thing is, there’s a whole lot of people, every night of the year, who have no choice and that is something that gets rammed home to you.”

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Daniel is stepping up to the challenge of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout on 23 June – will you join him to make a difference? Register today as an individual or as part of a team at www.ceosleepout.org.au.