A show of solidarity – give now for CEO sleepout

Leaders of aged care providers, a union and a senior’s advocacy group will all be sleeping on the streets tomorrow night, in a show of solidarity with homeless Australians – and an effort to raise money.

Above: IRT’s Nieves Murray, who will be sleeping outside at Lang Park in Wollongong tomorrow night to raise money for St Vincent de Paul.

Leaders of all kinds of organisations will be sleeping rough tomorrow night, to raise money for the growing number of homeless people in Australia.

IRT chief executive, Nieves Murray, will be bedding down at Wollongong’s Lang Park tomorrow for the 2012 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, and has already attracted $6,470 in sponsorship.

Ms Murray told local newspaper, the Illawarra Mercury, that the event was a chance to “change our perceptions about homelessness and make a contribution to the important work of Vinnies”.

The Australian Nursing Federation’s federal secretary, Lee Thomas, will also be among the community and business leaders taking part and sleeping outside tomorrow.

Wearing warm clothes, she will swap the luxury of a warm bed for a sleeping bag, with three pieces of cardboard to protect her against the elements.

“For many years, I have been concerned about the plight of the homeless,” Ms Thomas said in a statement.

“Taking part in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout is the logical next step in raising awareness and all-important donations for the 105,000 homeless Australians.

“Sleeping rough like this on a freezing winter’s night in Canberra will truly allow me to experience what it’s like to be homeless for a night – a very real scenario facing more and more homeless men, women and children across the country.” 

Money raised through the sponsorship of the Sleepout will go directly towards Vinnies’ homeless services in the region around each city.

Above: Gary Barnier, CEO of Domain Principal, who will join the CEO sleepout in Sydney.

The managing director of Australia’s largest aged care provider, Domain Principal Group’s Gary Barnier, will also be sleeping on the streets for charity tomorrow, in the Sydney suburb of Eveleigh.

Mr Barnier said it was a privilege to take part in the initiative to help raise awareness, and funds for Australia’s homeless community, particularly the 20,000 older Australians sleeping rough each night. 

More than 17 per cent of homeless Australians are aged over 55 – comprising 64 per cent men and 36 per cent women – and a number suffer from dementia, acquired brain injury or mental illness, according to a statement from Domain Principal. 

Mr Barnier said that many would eventually become residents of nursing homes, and receive the care and attention they so desperately need and deserve.

“These Australians face a lot of the same problems we see in our nursing homes. I’m grateful to be part of this important initiative, where money raised will go towards helping our homeless community find warmth, safety and dignity,” Mr Barnier said.

National Seniors boss onboard

The CEO of lobby group National Seniors, Michael O’Neill, will also join in the CEO sleepout at South Bank, Brisbane where his only comforts will be a sleeping bag, a pillow and the clothes on his back.

“We are provided a piece of cardboard to sleep on and we are not allowed to bring food, we are given a simple meal of soup and a bread roll for dinner,” Mr O’Neill said.

“As a seniors’ organisation, National Seniors is concerned about the welfare of all older Australians and on the extreme end of that scale are the homeless, the most marginalised group of all.

“In a country as wealthy as Australia it’s unacceptable that some people live without basic shelter.”

Older Australians use services for homeless people less than other age groups, according to data provided by the advocacy body, with less than five per cent of people supported by specialist homelessness services in 2009-10 being over 55.

“I hope that we not only raise money for this very worthy cause but also awareness that homelessness affects all people, including older Australians,” Mr O’Neill said.

Another participant is Charles Cornish, managing director of Lille Healthcare, a supplier of continence products which has also pledged to donate one dollar to the CEO Sleepout for every new follower they get on their Twiiter account, and every time someone new ‘likes’ their Facebook page.

To donate, visit www.ceosleepout.org.au and search for the name of the leader you want to support. All money goes to the same cause.

Tags: ceo-sleepout, charity, gary-barnier, homeless, homelessness, lee-thomas, michael-oneill, nieves-murray, older-homeless,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *