By Melinda Varley
7 June 2012 – Executive director of the Property Council of Australia ACT, Catherine Carter, and former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, are among more than 500 Australian CEOs and senior business leaders who will this month sleep on the streets to raise awareness for homelessness.
Joining Ms Carter and Mr Rudd will be several identities from the property industry including David Hall, chief operating officer of developers MAB Corporation, Andrew Balzanelli, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle and Maria Efkarpidis, director, Rock Development Group.
The community leaders will experience what it is like to be homeless on Thursday, June 21 in aid of St Vincent de Paul Society’s annual Sleepout, which aims to raise awareness of the real facts of homelessness.
Ms Carter said: “The recent very cold weather where it has reached below freezing temperatures most nights has been a big reminder about how hard it must be for those who sleep on the streets every night.
“That’s just one reason why I want to help raise money for this important cause. As the Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2012 is held just before the end of the financial year, it’s an easy way to help a really great cause. Donations over $2 are tax deductable.”
Ms Carter has so far raised $6000 and hopes to top $10,000 by June 21. Kevin Rudd, Member for Griffith, Parliament of Australia, has raised $23,780.00 ahead of the Sleepout.
According to the most recent Census (2006), 104,700 Australians are homeless with 50,256 on the street every night.
More than half of those (54 per cent) who seek supported accommodation are turned away, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Sam White, deputy chairman of Ray White, will also sleep on the streets on June 21 and is aiming to raise $15,000.
Mr White said: “The core of our business is to provide people with homes and with over 100,000 people homeless every night, as a company we have a responsibility to raise awareness.”
The money raised at this year’s CEO Sleepout will fund Vinnies homeless services to expand its programs to assist the homeless through crisis accommodation, domestic violence support and access to counselling, life and occupational skills, legal advice and education.
The aim of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is not only to raise funds, but raise awareness with the goal of bringing an end to homelessness.
The discomfort of sleeping on the streets is a fragment of the larger reality the charity hopes to impart upon influential leaders of the community.
Other company leaders who will be sacrificing their beds for the evening include:
Steve Maher, director, Urbanedge Homes and Eight Homes in Victoria who has so far raised $12,400
Ayesha Razzaq, general manager retail, Actewagl
Maria Efkarpidis, director, Rock Development Group
Andrew Balzanelli, managing director, Jones Lang LaSalle
Adrian Bott, CEO, Vos Construction & Joinery Pty Ltd
David Hall, chief operating officer, MAB Corporation Pty Ltd
Brendon Smith, managing director, J Z Lee Interiors
Anthony Flynn, joint managing director, Kenlynn Properties Australia
Karl Morris, executive chairman, Ord Minnett Limited
Peter McIntyre, managing director, TransGrid,
John Welborn, managing director & CEO, Equatorial Resources Limited
Shane Ball, director, Swan Office Interiors
The Vinnies CEO Sleepout began as a local community venture in Sydney’s Parramatta in 2006. Since then, the event has raised important funds for Vinnies Homeless Services across NSW.
In 2010 the event was launched nationally and exceeded expectations, attracting almost 700 industry leaders in seven cities nationally and raising $2.9 million to directly assist people experiencing homelessness.