News

Supporting Vinnies CEO Sleepout

25 June 2013


Cold. Really, really cold.

That is how Craig Dent, a current Williamson Community Leadership Program participant, described this year's Vinnies CEO Sleepout. This is Craig's third year of sleeping out in support of St Vincents' annual fund raiser and to raise the awareness of homelessness.

"It was a great night," says Craig. "There were lots of new faces this year all with energy and a genuine interest in addressing the scourge of homelessness."

There were almost 180 CEOs represented; an increase of almost 60 on 2012. So far, Victoria has raised $630K and it isn’t too late to donate. Craig has a target of raising $5000 and is well on the way with $4300 already received. There are a few events organised for this week including a raffle at State Trustees. To help Craig to reach his target you can donate here: http://www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/vic-ceos/craig-dent

So, what happens at a CEO sleepout?

 

“You arrive and go through the registration process then are given a beanie to keep you warm and two pieces of cardboard to sleep on. Your photo is taken and then you need to find your sleeping space for the night and roll out your sleeping bag.

“The soup van arrives just as it does on Melbourne’s streets and you are fed with soup and a piece of bread. This part of the evening is the socialising time where you catch up with others confronting a cold night in the open and listen to a speaker. This year it was Simon McKeon, Australian of the Year 2011. A group photo is taken and then you are sent off on your merry way for the rest of the night.

“Sleep is hard and although we all tried to get some shut eye it wasn’t really possible. The night drags on and at 12.30am the hum of the city starts to drop off. By 2.30am it is almost silent and very eerie so much so that you could hear a pin drop. At 4.30am the city starts to wake up and the hum starts up again.

The Government’s target to halve homelessness by 2020 was a key topic in Canberra this week where Craig was with the WCLP group.

“It is a national issue that needs to be addressed and the target is a good one but all parties, government, corporate and community must agree for it to be achieved. There is a need to have the discussions about the root causes of homelessness, such as domestic violence, and these need to be carefully considered in order to start to gain traction,” comments Craig.