The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is back as an in-person event but we don’t want pre-COVID levels of rough sleeping

14 April 2021

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is back as an in-person event in 2021 and there’s never been a more important time to campaign to bring an end to rough sleeping and homelessness.

“We may be returning to normal with the Vinnies CEO Sleepout back as an in-person event but we don’t want the rate of rough sleeping to return to pre-COVID levels,” Vinnies CEO, Jack de Groot, said.

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout has two purposes: to raise money to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“And to raise awareness with the ultimate aim of ensuring everyone has safe, stable, long-term accommodation.

“We do this by bringing CEOs and other leaders together to get a taste of a night in the life of someone experiencing an extreme form of homelessness.

“The CEOs don’t just sleep out, they hear from people who Vinnies has helped, and, we hope, it galvanises them to do more to help.

“While rough-sleeping represents a very small proportion of overall homelessness, it is the pointiest end of a very sharp edge,” Mr de Groot said.

“During the pandemic, the political will was found to provide temporary accommodation for many rough sleepers in NSW and around the country.

“In NSW, only about a quarter of this group have been provided with longer-term accommodation at this point.

“That said, no-one can now say we don’t know what to do to, at least, significantly lessen the numbers of people rough sleeping – we’ve only recently witnessed an effective solution in action,” Mr de Groot said.

“The face of homelessness is changing – older women are the fastest growing group falling into its grip.

“Many women are driven out of their homes by domestic violence and more needs to be done to both stop that scourge and provide support for those who experience it, too.

“I’m proud that Vinnies provides support to people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence and you’d probably be surprised how often someone experiences both,” Mr de Groot said.

“Those who are rough sleeping and experiencing homelessness need our support and that’s what money raised through the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will do.

“It will fund Vinnies’ Members and services who supply rough sleepers with emergency accommodation, food and water, clothes, blankets, and more.

“The most recent NSW Street Count found more than 1100 rough sleepers throughout the state.

“These people need our help and you can contribute by sponsoring a CEO or making a donation to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout at the event’s website.

“I encourage everyone to give as generously as they can,” Mr de Groot said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that rough sleeping need not happen – and certainly not at the levels we see in Sydney and across NSW,” St Vincent de Paul NSW President, Peter McNamara, said.

“Vinnies helps people at their most vulnerable but our real goal is a more compassionate world where everyone has a home.

“We wish that our work were unnecessary.

“During COVID-19 we’ve seen less rough sleeping.

“There’s no excuse at all to return to the, frankly, appalling rates of rough sleeping that seemed intractable before COVID.

“We’ve seen a more compassionate Australia during the pandemic and there is every reason why we can all work to see this continue,” Mr McNamara said.

Media contact: Lachlan Jones 0417 446 430