‘A home is a right, not a privilege’

Vinnies launches 2018 CEO Sleepout with call for affordable housing action

High-profile CEOs are gathering at Sydney’s windswept White Bay Cruise Terminal on Wednesday 18 April to launch this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

More than 200 business leaders have already signed up to the Sydney event to spend a winter night outdoors and raise over $2 million to fund Vinnies’ frontline homelessness services.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday 21 June takes place at the White Bay Cruise Terminal. As well as raising money for crucial services and programs to help people experiencing homelessness, it is a chance for CEOs to gain a better understanding of the complex issue. Before their night in the cold, they will hear first-hand from people who’ve experienced real disadvantage, learn about the assistance Vinnies offers and discuss some of the solutions.

Whilst corporate Australia can play an important role in supporting services and programs and lending their influence to the discussion, government needs to come to the table in developing policy that will make real inroads in addressing homelessness, starting with affordable housing targets. Vinnies NSW CEO Jack de Groot explains further.

“Housing costs constantly lead the Australian media headlines,” says Mr de Groot. “Unfortunately most of the focus is on home ownership rather than renting. As we at Vinnies know from the work we do, people trying to get into the rental market or who can’t afford to stay in their rental properties are the ones most at risk of homelessness.

“This year we are putting the spotlight back on those who are locked out of the rental market, and focusing on educating and supporting business leaders so they can best assist those experiencing disadvantage and homelessness. After all, a home is a right not a privilege.”

The founder of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Blue Mountains local Bernie Fehon, adds:

“In 2006, I was on the organising committee of a fundraising evening. But another fancy dinner just didn’t seem right, so a small group came together for the first CEO Sleepout at Stadium Australia.

“Over the years this event has opened my eyes more and more to the issues, and the shocking reality faced by more than 100,000 people every night who have nowhere to call home. I’m very pleased that since 2006, thousands of CEOs around the country have raised around $40 million which has all gone towards the practical work that Vinnies do. The event has also changed the way CEOs think about their roles, and their opportunities to help bring change.”

There’s still time to register or donate to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout visit: www.ceosleepout.org.au