Vinnies CEO Sleepout


#RemovetheRisk of homelessness

The St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria’s (Vinnies Victoria) annual flagship fundraiser, Vinnies CEO Sleepout, was held on Thursday 17 June 2021. The event saw 206 business and community leaders sleep rough on one of the longest nights of the year to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help change the lives of Victorians experiencing homelessness. 

Our theme this year was Remove the Risk – as homelessness in Victoria is expected to rise by 13% due to the pandemic, according to the Equity Economics report.

For the second year due to the State's COVID-19 restrictions, Vinnies Victoria hosted an online event featuring powerful stories of people who have experienced the trauma of homelessness firsthand and, with the help of Vinnies, are now looking forward to a better future.

Australia’s much-loved actor, David Wenham, generously donated his time to host Vinnies Victoria’s two-hour broadcast and shared his own personal connection with Vinnies. You can view the broadcast in full here.

Nationally, Vinnies has raised an incredible $9.2 million through the support of its 1,613 participating business and community leaders. In Victoria, our CEOs raised more than $1.3 million to assist people who are homeless in our community.

Victoria’s highest fundraiser for the sixth-year running was CEO of Gandel Philanthropy Vedran Drakulic OAM, raising an amazing $168,125. Vedran’s commitment and support to this event and Vinnies Victoria have been outstanding. 

This year Vedran was nominated, and won, the FIA National Awards for Excellence in Fundraising’s Volunteer of the Year and he was also the highest fundraiser for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout nationally.

Funds raised will support the Vinnies’ homeless services providing shelter, food, clothing and other support for people experiencing homelessness, or at imminent risk of losing their home.

Vinnies is extremely grateful to everyone who participated, as well as to everyone who helped ensure the event was a success. 

To learn more about Vinnies work – and the positive impact of this work on some of Victoria’s most vulnerable – watch the stories of David, Diana, Karryn & Dallas, Moj and our volunteers in Dandenong presented below:  

David Wenham has a personal affinity with Vinnies because his father, Bill, was a volunteer for more than 50 years .

“My dad was a real inspiration in so many ways, but his commitment to helping out people who needed a hand in the community is something that’s with me every day. I’m supporting Vinnies because I know the incredible impact they can make in one family’s life. They made a huge difference to my father when he was a child and that spurred him on in adulthood to give something back through ‘good works’ for Vinnies.” 

View David's personal story

Karryn & Dallas – a couple who was unsure of the future and found themselves living in a tent and expecting a baby; to being resettled into a three-bedroom house and raising their son, all through the help provided by Vinnies volunteers.

View Karryn & Dallas' story


Diana Connell – becoming homeless with her children after fleeing family violence, Vinnies helped Diana into safe accommodation while she got back on her feet. A few years on, she has set up her own business as she has no superannuation. Her story speaks to the financial distresses particularly affecting older women.

View Diana's story

Spotlight on Dandenong – our volunteer James Tudehope takes us on a challenging journey in Greater Dandenong where 40% of the population are from groups deemed ‘most at risk of homelessness’. Our local Soup Van service brings hope to people living in the area.

View our Spotlight on Dandenong

Moj Rezai – is a refugee who arrived here in 2010 as an unaccompanied young teen after losing his parents and five brothers during the war in Afghanistan. Moj has received support from Vinnies with rent, food and utility bills, and he has also given back by volunteering at his local Vinnies Shop. His story touched the hearts of many when it appeared in the ABC documentary Miriam Margolyes' Almost Australian. Following his appearance, Repco reached out to see how they could help and now Moj has a job that he loves with a work family to support him too. 

View Moj's story