Vinnies urges CEO's to spend a night out in the cold

Sydney, Thursday 4 April 2019. Vinnies has urged CEOs to spend a night sleeping out in the cold to help raise funds for the charity’s homelessness services.

At the launch of the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout today, Vinnies announced the Sydney event would take place on Thursday June 20, at the windswept White Bay Cruise Terminal in Rozelle.

The fundraiser sees hundreds of CEOs and business leaders nationwide sleep outside to raise money for vital homelessness services such as counselling, healthcare, life skills and vocational courses, rehabilitation, crisis accommodation and food items.

Last year the Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised over $6.9 million and this year the charity is hoping to top that.

With homelessness in Australia now at crisis point, CEO of Vinnies NSW, Jack de Groot called out to business and community leaders around the State to sign up for the event.

“Corporate Australia can really make a positive impact in the lives of people experiencing homelessness,” he said, “Not only can business leaders help to raise money but they can also develop innovative ideas and lend their influence to finding the solutions to ending homelessness.”

As well as raising money, Mr. de Groot said participants will hear first-hand from people who’ve experienced homelessness and gain an understanding of the complex issue of homelessness and its prevalence in a prosperous country such as Australia.

Mr de Groot pointed out that the most recent 2016 Census figures showed that on any given night, 116,427 people nationwide have no permanent home. In NSW the number of people experiencing homelessness increased by 37% from 2011-2016 to a total of 37,715.

Homelessness in women aged 55 plus was on the rise and in NSW there had been a 36% increase in the number of 12-24 year olds without stable, secure housing.

“Family violence is a major driver of homelessness for young people,” he said.

For many young people it may feel safer to couch surf, to spend their nights in a mate’s garage or even to sleep rough than it does to stay in the family home.”

Mr de Groot said many older women who had become homeless had made enormous contributions to society, by raising children, working, caring for families and volunteering in their communities. Many had simply been unable to build a financial buffer against sickness, family breakdown or any unexpected expenses.

In February this year, the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW – along with a number of other charities, the City of Sydney and the NSW Government – signed an agreement stating that they will would work together to halve the number of people sleeping rough across NSW by 2025.

“We are committed to making a real and measurable difference. And we know that if we can first tackle the pointy and most visible end of homelessness, then we will be able to start tackling problems such as over-crowding, chronic couch-surfing, and insecure housing,” said Mr. de Groot.

To sign-up to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout today, please visit www.ceosleepout.org.au

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout takes place on:

6:00pm Thursday 20 June 2019 – 9:00am Friday 21 June 2019

White Bay Cruise Terminal James Craig Road, Rozelle NSW 2039

#CEOSleepoutAU

Regional CEO Sleeout events will also be held in Wollongong and Newcastle.