Local community housing provider, Compass Housing has a team of six participating in Vinnies CEO Sleepout this year to play its part in helping to end the cycle of homelessness for local people.
This year’s Sleepout will be held in Newcastle on June 21, one of the longest and coldest nights of the year, at McDonald Jones Stadium.
This will be Compass Housing CEO, Greg Budworth’s fourth sleepout. Greg said this year he had five staff members volunteer to sleep out with him.
He supports the CEO Sleepout because homelessness is such a significant and growing issue. More than 116,000 Australians experience homelessness on any given night. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on census night in 2016 there were 37,715 people facing homelessness in NSW compared to 27,479 five years earlier – a 37% increase.
The goal is to raise $6.4m across Australia, and the funds directly assist people experiencing homelessness by funding new initiatives and emergency support while maintaining existing homelessness services and access to accommodation and meals.
“I hope by doing the Sleepout I provide some awareness to my staff and others in the community of the plight of homeless people and the disadvantage they experience,” Greg said.
“Even though we are only sleeping out for one night, it does give you some perspective of how unpleasant it is to be homeless.”
More than 50 people are registered for this year’s Newcastle Sleepout and they have so far raised more than $50,000 of the $100,000 target. Other local organisations participating include Lambourne Partners Chartered Accountants, Toronto Private Hospital, Allambie Care, Pegasus, Custom Fluidpower, Hunter Primary Care, ATO Newcastle, Catholic Care and Toronto Diggers.
Greg encouraged people to donate what they can to help Vinnies to provide support to homeless people. $55 will feed a family for a day. $105 will provide emergency accommodation for a family in crisis. $505 will help pay rent for a family facing eviction.
The Compass team will join hundreds of other CEOs, business owners as well as community and government leaders to sleep outdoors at 11 locations around Australia to support Australians who are experiencing homelessness. Last year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised $5.6 million nationally.
IMAGE | Participants in the CEO Sleepout 2017. Image credit: Megan Garth.