The Sunshine Coast community is about to experience first-hand what it’s like to be homeless, as they sleep rough on Thursday 8 August at Maroochydore beach.
The 2019 Vinnies Corporate and Community Sleepout is raising crucial funds for those doing it tough with Maroochydore Neighbourhood Centre estimating 1600 people are currently homeless on the Sunshine Coast.
Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the fund raising support for the Sleepout this year was a bit subdued and they are hoping there will be a bit of a rush over the next two days to achieve the target.
“We are pleased this year to welcome the Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services Luke Howarth to the event. What better way to shine a light on Homelessness Week and highlight this local fundraising event,” said Ms Zubrinich.
“This will be a great chance for the sleepers to not only raise vital funds for homelessness but also engage in thoughtful discussions with the Assistant Minister.
“The rest of the community can still support the cause with donations which will be a great encouragement to more than 100 people who are getting their beanies and sleeping bags ready for the chilly winter’s night.
“The community has raised nearly $60,000 but we’re still hopeful of reaching the target of $150,000.
“The Sunshine Coast Business Council is leading the teams this year, with close to $10,000 raised but there’s still time to double, if not triple that number by the end of Thursday night.”
Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services Luke Howarth said the Morrison Government understands that having a roof over your head is crucial to the welfare of all Australians.
“Just one person forced into homelessness is one person too many, that’s why the Government is contributing more than $6 billion a year funding for housing and homelessness to support state and territories.
“In June this year I took part in the Vinnies CEO sleepout in Brisbane. While I can in no way compare the experience to what life is like for Australians who are homeless, I am glad I took part to gain a small insight into sleeping rough.
“I’m grateful to have been invited to the Vinnies Sleepout in Maroochydore during homelessness week and I want to encourage more people to get involved in local events like this one that help to raise awareness of homelessness in Australia.”
Vinnies is on a mission to increase the number of affordable housing options on the Sunshine Coast but they require extra funding to make that possible.
In 2018, the Sunshine Coast Corporate and Community Sleepout enabled Vinnies to finalise the purchase and refurbishment of nine units in Maroochydore where people are now living.
Vinnies is also providing wrap around services to those tenants, to help break the cycle of homelessness.
This year, the goal is to raise $150,000 which will go towards assisting Vinnie’s support workers and also establishing affordable housing at Nambour for people experiencing or at risk of being homeless.
“We’re urging people who won’t be sleeping out to support those who are and donate anything they can,” said Ms Zubrinich.
Stockland Regional Manager and Sunshine Coast Business Council member Adrian Allen said Stockland people had been part of the Sleepout since 2014 and he has participated for past three years in a row and says it is an eye-opening experience.
“The first year we slept in the rain but that’s what it is all about, experiencing the challenges other people have,” said Mr Allen.
“Not everyone gets to sleep in a warm bed and a house at night and this is about giving back and raising funds for a much-needed cause.”
To donate to the cause or find out more, please visit www.communitysleepout.org.au.