Last night I slept rough at Luna Park in support of the homeless at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
To support St Vinnies Winter Appeal and help the homeless, please donate at https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/donate/donate2/ceoId/226
Sleeping rough, refers to one type of homelessness, the most visible form, which is people sleeping wherever they can find a place out of the weather. It maybe in a doorway, corner, between a couple of building or just right in the middle of the street. In winter you get cold, when it rains you might get wet, but invariably you are never comfortable and rarely safe.
Last night from 7pm until 7am this morning I joined with other Sydney CEOs to raise money and raise awareness for the plight of the homeless. I slept rough, though not nearly as rough as homeless people do. From 7pm until 11pm I was indoors, had a soup dinner and a cup of tea and heard from people who have been homeless and heard of the good work that St Vinnies does.
From 11pm I found shelter from the pouring rain in amongst the dodgem cars. I had a piece of cardboard between me and the hard steel floor, but unlike most rough sleepers I also had the comforts of a pillow and sleeping bag. I was able to remain relatively warm, but got little sleep on the hard floor.
I also learned that there is a bigger group of homeless people that are a lot less visible. There are many homeless people that have lost permanent accommodation through circumstances such as losing their job or escaping domestic violence that live in cars, hostels, homes provided by organisations like St Vinnies and other types of short term accommodation. They’re not sleeping on the streets, but they don’t have any stability or security and find it hard to function within society.
I commend St Vinnies on the excellent work that they do in giving people immediate help when they find themselves homeless, but particularly in the long term programs that they run, which give people a sence of purpose and the skills they need to find a maintain permanent accommodation.
I was proud to be part of such an event and look forward to doing it again next year.