NSW Hoteliers Plan To Top $5 Million For People Facing Homelessness

Wednesday 11 March 2020

The true spirit of hospitality will be showcased in May as NSW hoteliers prepare to break through the $5 million mark in their bid to help an increasing number of Australians affected by homelessness.

Having raised over $4.5 million since its inception in 2001, the biennial Hotels Have Hearts Gala Dinner will return to Sydney on Wednesday 6 May.

Aiding the valuable work of the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, Hotels Have Hearts is a collective of the state’s most generous publicans, all of whom are passionate about addressing homelessness on the streets of Sydney.

To be held at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel, the Hotels Have Hearts Gala Dinner is one of NSW’s premier hospitality industry fundraising events, supported by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA). According to the most recent census data in 2016, more than 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness – a rise of 14 percent since the previous survey in 2011. In NSW, the number of people experiencing homelessness increased by a worrying 37 percent. Women over 55 were found to be the fastest growing category.

More recent studies have revealed an alarming number of war veterans are currently homeless and also carry a significantly higher risk of being displaced than other Australians.

Hotels Have Hearts chairman Kim Maloney OAM said the statistics were a reminder that homelessness doesn’t discriminate.

“The hotel industry has been built upon inclusiveness and a spirit of bringing Australians from all different walks of life together,” Mr Maloney said.

“Homelessness can affect anyone – young and old, male and female, privileged and disadvantaged.”

“The NSW hotel industry cares deeply about the plight of these people, who are sadly growing in number, yet remain somewhat forgotten,” he added.

The most recent Gala Dinner in 2018 raised a record $750,000, bringing the total Hotels Have Hearts contribution to an impressive $4,589,181.

Hotels Have Hearts is confident of setting a new record this year, which would take the total amount raised beyond $5 million.

Past proceeds have contributed to significant improvements to Vinnies’ Matthew Talbot Hostel, including medical equipment, a computer laboratory and art studio. Assistance has also gone toward refurbishing a recreation and garden space at Vincentian House, an inner-city Vinnies service for women and families experiencing homelessness.