Wollongong Business Leaders set to Brave the Cold for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout

19 May 2021

Business and community leaders in Wollongong are being urged to sleep rough on one of the coldest nights this winter as part of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout taking place on Thursday 17 June.

Held annually since 2006 to raise essential funds for Vinnies’ homelessness services throughout the state, this year’s event is highlighting the importance of bringing an end to homelessness and rough sleeping as life returns to normal after COVID-19.

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout plays an enormous role in our ability to support thousands of people every year who fall on hard times,” said Jack de Groot, Vinnies NSW CEO.

“During the pandemic there was direct political action to assist people sleeping rough and help them find long-term housing.

“As things begin to return to how they were, it is vital that we don’t regress in the way we treat the most vulnerable in our communities.

“On any given night in NSW there are more than 37,000 people experiencing homelessness – not just the preconceived idea of men sleeping rough in cities, but families escaping domestic violence by couch surfing, older women sleeping in their cars and young people staying in overcrowded boarding houses.

“Every dollar donated to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is used to give vulnerable men, women and children hope with crisis accommodation, food, clothing, healthcare, educational programs, assistance to find permanent housing and support to rebuild their lives.”

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout will return as an in-person event for its 16th year after taking place virtually last year due to COVID-19. The Wollongong event will be held at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus alongside simultaneous events held around the country.

Local business leader Roy Rogers, CEO of The Flagstaff Group, will participate in his tenth Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

“It is incumbent upon business leaders to play a role in ensuring people can access support when they face times of hardship,” said Mr Rogers.

“Taking part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a humbling experience; I encourage all local business and community leaders to sign up so Vinnies can continue supporting people doing it tough in our community.”

Vinnies operates more than 65 services throughout the state providing health care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, crisis accommodation, domestic violence refuge, disability support and community inclusion programs.

Funds raised from the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will be used to support services in the local region including the Vinnies Van in Wollongong and John Purcell House in Nowra, a crisis accommodation service supporting men experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

In the past year, Vinnies provided $1.3 million in financial assistance to more than 6,600 people throughout Wollongong and the Illawarra, along with 6,000 meals through its Illawarra Homeless Coordination Services Hub in Coniston.

Business and community leaders can register to fundraise as individuals or teams at www.ceosleepout.org.au.

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