The seventh annual St Vincent de Paul Society CEO Sleepout is set to kick off later this month in capital cities across Australia.
CEOs and senior business and community leaders will rise to the challenge and experience what it is like to be homeless for one night in winter, on Thursday 21 June. Their fundraising and experiences will help the St Vincent de Paul Society raise awareness of the real facts of homelessness. St Vincent de Paul Society National CEO, Dr John Falzon spoke about the plight of the many homeless children in Australia. “Thirty-three percent of people experiencing homelessness are children or young people. That’s more than 34,000 kids without a place they can call home,” Falzon said.
The growing incidence of homelessness has not been accompanied by an increase in services to meet demand, he added. Commenting on the Sleepout experience last year, John Hartigan, CEO of News Limited said: “Any one of us could be a couple of bad deals away from homelessness.”
In speaking about her decision to sleep out, Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said: “For me, the number of women and children who are homeless is a statistic and phenomena that we shouldn’t tolerate.”
Last year, the $4.2m raised nationally by participants and supporters of the 2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout funded new projects, assisted with the provision of existing homeless services and allowed Vinnies homeless services to expand their programs.
Gail Kelly of Westpac and Ian Narev of Commbank are just two of the many CEOs taking part in this year’s sleepout and they have contributed to $1.2m raised thus far.
CEOs can register and donations can be made at the website ceosleepout.org.au
- Patrick Durrant