Tune into SBS tonight to see Dr Andrew Rochford and Vinnies in action

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Tonight on SBS program Filthy Rich & Homeless, emergency doctor and television personality Dr Andrew Rochford will briefly experience life in a Vinnies homelessness refuge.

Those transformative two nights inspired Dr Rochford to sign up as host of the 2020 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, as part of an ongoing commitment to support people experiencing homelessness.

“From the moment I stepped through that door, I was treated with respect and care,” Dr Rochford said of his experience at John Purcell House, the only crisis accommodation service for single men in the Shoalhaven region of NSW.

“It was a complete shock to find myself in such a safe and supportive environment after sleeping on the streets of Sydney. Experiencing that transformation made me realise what a lifesaver these Vinnies services are for people who would otherwise be left to their own devices.”

Ninety men were accommodated at John Purcell House in the 2018/19 financial year. Along with accommodation in private rooms and home-cooked meals, residents are supported to access healthcare, education, employment and secure housing, according to their individual needs.

John Purcell House is just one of dozens of homelessness services provided by the St Vincent de Paul Society across Australia, supporting hundreds of men, women and children each year.

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is absolutely crucial to raising the funds needed to keep these services running,” Dr Rochford said.

“In the 15 years since the first Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Sydney, almost $60 million has been raised by business and community leaders, and those who donate to their campaigns.

That money is turned into medicine, food, shelter, and one-on-one support to either help people out of homelessness, or keep them from becoming homeless in the first place.”

This year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout will look different to previous years’, with the event moving online to comply with social distancing measures. On Thursday 18 June, participants will sleep on their couch, in the car or out in the backyard, tuning into a live-streamed broadcast.

“If you’re in a position to contribute financially, now is the time to pitch in your support for people at risk of homelessness,” Dr Rochford said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on Vinnies’ ability to fundraise for homelessness services, so donations are needed more than ever.”

Dr Rochford and Vinnies are calling on members of the public to donate at www.ceosleepout.org.au.

Filthy Rich & Homeless airs on SBS tonight at 8:30. You can catch up on last night’s episode through SBS On Demand.

Media contact: media.nsw@vinnies.org.au | 0417 446 430