CEOs sleep rough for the cause

Aged care executives were among the 1,000 business and community leaders who slept out last night to raise funds and community awareness of homelessness.

 

Dr Yvonne Luxford, CEO of Palliative Care Australia, taking part in the sleep out last night
Dr Yvonne Luxford, CEO of Palliative Care Australia, taking part in the sleep out last night

Aged care leaders were among the 1,000 business and community leaders who slept out last night to raise funds and community awareness of homelessness.

All funds raised from the Vinnies CEO Sleepout go towards helping Australia’s estimated 100,000 homeless people. Almost 15,000 homeless people are aged over 55, and more than 2,000 of them are over 75.

According to Homelessness Australia, 64 per cent of people living on the street are at risk of death within five years, and older people are inevitably more vulnerable.

“It is well known that the older age group is the one suffering the most severe housing stress across Australia. However, I don’t think people realise the extent of homelessness in that age group,” said Ray Glickman, CEO of Amana Living, who took part last night. “Our older generation deserve better.”

Gary Barnier, managing director of Opal Aged Care (previously Domain Principal Group), said he was participating in the event for the third year in a row to raise awareness and funds.

“Every night, 190,000 elderly Australians have a roof above their head and a warm meal due to living in residential aged care. Many other elderly Australians are not nearly as fortunate,” said Mr Barnier.

“I think about those people who live on the streets who are over 65 years of age and find themselves homeless as a result of either an acquired brain injury, through alcohol or drug abuse or just simply because their community and family lives have broken down and they’ve got no other place to go.”

Dr Yvonne Luxford, CEO of Palliative Care Australia, who also took part last night, said a growing issue of concern was homeless mature women, “who may have stayed at home to bring up children and find themselves alone due to the death of their partner or divorce.”

“With no savings or superannuation and no recent workforce skills, they end up homeless. A large proportion of these may also be ‘hidden homeless’ as they often couch surf,” said Dr Luxford.

“This is a very vulnerable group of people. They face the daily stress of having no money or home, and making decisions about whether or not they eat or look after their healthcare. There are also often complex issues related to mental illness or drug and alcohol use, which makes comprehending health information and regularly taking medications for other needs more difficult,” she said.

Steve Teulan from UnitingCare Ageing lent his support last night
Steve Teulan from UnitingCare Ageing lent his support last night

Chris How, CEO of Bethanie, said he participated in the sleep out to reach out to friends, family, colleagues and business partners to donate to a cause close to his heart.

“At Bethanie, we are always finding new and improved ways to provide the best facilities for WA’s increasingly ageing population, so it deemed a fitting purpose for me to help do the same for another sector in our community that could use a lending hand,” Mr How said.

“This is a wonderful cause and I hope together we can make a difference to thousands of Australians’ lives.”

Echoing Dr Luxford, the CEO of Leading Age Services Australia WA Beth Cameron highlighted the plight of homelessness amongst older women as a key driver behind her participation in the initiative.

“The numbers of homeless women has risen dramatically in the past year because of an ageing population, rising housing unaffordability, higher rental prices and lower levels of superannuation combine to leave older women unable to house themselves.

“But the real figures are much higher because older people don’t tend to ask for help. They would rather sleep on a friend’s sofa or in a car than admit they need assistance,” said Ms Cameron.

Other sector leaders who took part included Graeme Prior from Hall and Prior; Nieves Murray from IRT Group, Steve Teulan from UnitingCare Ageing, and Kim Gilbert from aged care insurer Zenith Insurance.

Tags: amana, beth cameron, bethanie, chris how, domain, gary-barnier, graeme prior, hall and prior, irt, lasa, nieves-murray, opal aged care, palliative-care-australia, ray-glickman, yyonne luxford,

3 thoughts on “CEOs sleep rough for the cause

  1. Australia once was one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and our population in the post war years was much smaller than now. Homelessness has increased since the Howard era in the 2000s when immigration increased, to boost the housing industry, and when the prices of houses started to decline after the GFC, Kevin Rudd turned on the immigration tap to full throttle, and the demand for housing outstripped what was available, and prices ascended! Now, we have the crises of youth homelessness and youth unemployment! Poor leadership is condemning our once great nation to poverty. The addiction to “growth” at all costs is costing us dearly!

  2. Citing immigration as a reason for increased homelessness is way off the mark… I don’t see too many Afghanis sleeping rough in Surry Hills.

    Since 1983, the Richmond report’s recommendations have seen the closure of institutional beds (read, development of waterfront land) and rising homelessness among the mentally ill.

    The failure of successive governments to provide alternative accommodation and competent supervision for these most vulnerable members of our community has seen our city streets and parks become Sydney’s new ‘psych hospitals’. Being public land, at least they’re safe from developers.

  3. “.. I don’t see too many Afghanis sleeping rough in Surry Hills”, says Mike. It’s falsely assumed that “immigration” and “boat people” are synonymous! They are not. The flow from asylum seekers is only a very small percentage of our net overseas immigration! The large majority do NOT come from Afghanistan, or Iran, but from India, UK, China and other countries in South East Asia. They are to keep our GDP afloat, and keep demand for housing high, to inflate prices.
    60% of our population growth is due to net overseas migration. It’s to ensure the demand for housing is greater than supply and to inflate the housing bubble. The homeless are considered collateral damage.

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