The Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Melbourne was a huge success with more than $600,000 raised for charity.
Following on from yesterday’s story, The Newsroom attended the event at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to speak with volunteers and CEOs.
More than 200 Victorians in senior management positions took part, braving the cold weather.
Vinnies’ Victoria chief executive officer (CEO) Susan Cattermole told The Newsroom the money raised was valuable to the charity but stressed the importance of raising awareness surrounding the issue of homelessness.
Of the 22,000 Victorians recorded homeless in the 2011 Census, many of them are hidden homeless – people who aren’t noticed because they often resort to sleeping in cars, on couches or in short-term accommodation – Ms Cattermole said.
“What we plan to do tonight is raise awareness of just how big a problem it is.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people here tonight trying to help out.”
This year, the money raised will help 200 households in securing a place to rent through Vinnies’ new HomeDirect program.
“We will support them to be able to access the private rental market importantly, for the first 12 months, support them to stay in that rental accommodation,” Ms Cattermole said.
Dion Georgopoulos, an RMIT photography student, told The Newsroom he got on board almost immediately after hearing about the opportunity to raise awareness of homelessness through his photography.
“I talked to Vinnies about different ideas and concepts and about how we could translate that into a message for the CEOs,” Mr Georgopoulos said.
The project was about unravelling people’s backgrounds to engage the volunteers taking part.
James Cirelli, director of property development company Steller, and Minh Nguyen, a design manager, joined the fundraising event in February and May, respectively. Mr Cirelli told The Newsroom the duo wanted to help out people experiencing homelessness.
“It’s a great cause. It’s a big problem. We’re Melbournians… we tend to band together for a lot of different things in the city. This is one thing that’s a massive problem and is something that needs to be addressed,” he said.
The event has raised more than $5.4 million to date. – Story and photos by Matthew Male
Readers who would like to donate may visit this Vinnies website.
Top photo shows Vinnies Victoria CEO Susan Cattermole taking part in the sleepout after just eight weeks in the top job.