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THE 2020 ONLINE VINNIES CEO SLEEPOUT CONTINUES TO HIGHLIGHT HOMELESSNESS.

Last night over 1600 CEO’s and business leaders around the country, including more than 80 here in Perth, braved a chilly and uncomfortable night, supporting the mission to end homelessness.

A very different event was held this year, with business and community leaders coming together last night for a nationally streamed broadcast hosted by Dr Andrew Rochford from Sydney.  With the onset of a global health crisis, this year’s event was more vital ever to reflect the reality for many of the 116,000 people experiencing homelessness across the country, with the aim to provide a greater sense of empathy and awareness of what it’s like for people at the risk of, or experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Participants nominated their own sleeping location this year which was a mix of backyards, garages and balconies. A first time participant was CEO of Atlas Iron here in Perth was Sanjiv Manchanda (above) whose fundraising efforts were given a boost with a last minute donation of $115 thousand dollars from Gina Rinehart.  He woke up the following morning feeling the after effects from sleeping outside, and said one night was enough to have a profound impact on his idea of what homelessness was.

“This morning when I woke up, I was physically cold and sore and my mind went to thinking what it would feel like if one has to do this everyday. Not only do it everyday but do it with the feeling of not knowing when this will end, if it does at all. I realised at that moment what absence of any hope felt like. In my own time and effort I will continue to do whatever small contribution I can make towards this cause.”

Also experiencing the Vinnies CEO Sleepout for the first time was Daniel Lougher (above), CEO of Western Areas Ltd.  “I feel tired, cold and sore only after one night sleeping outside. I can’t imagine doing this day in and day out throughout winter!  It’s totally unacceptable that we have 116,000 homelessness people In Australia in this day and age. Among these are children and the vulnerable. One night on the streets is one night too much.” Mr Lougher said.

Amid what has been a challenging time in the past few months during COVID-19, Western Australian participants in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout still managed to raise nearly $500,000, for Vinnies WA unique specialist community services such as Passages Youth Engagement Hubs and Vinnies Tom Fisher House.

The generous contributions and commitment shown by Western Australian leaders participating this year highlights the complexity of the causes for a growing number of people experiencing homelessness, and ensures Vinnies WA can continue to provide people the support and resources they need to find a pathway out of homelessness.

It’s not too late to donate.  Visit www.ceosleepout.org.au to make a donation.