Vinnies is urging individuals and teams from across Western Sydney to register for the second annual Community Sleepout taking place at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta South Campus on Friday 30 August.
With more than 116,000 people experiencing homelessness across Australia on any given night, including thousands of people in Western Sydney who are living in crowded dwellings, bunking with family or friends, living out of their cars or sleeping rough, there’s a growing demand on Vinnies services that offer a ‘hand up’ to those at risk.
All funds raised through the Western Sydney Community Sleepout will help fund St Vincent de Paul Society programs and services that support locals doing it tough and prevent them from experiencing homelessness.
So far, the Community Sleepout has raised more than $15,000 to assist Vinnies Conferences and Community Hubs in Penrith, Blacktown and Harris Park in providing material support, information and connections that struggling families need to help them get back on their feet.
One of the event’s top fundraisers to date, Eddy Borovnjak, has already raised more than four times his initial goal of $500, and is hoping to add a few more thousand to the tally by event night.
“I’ve been humbled by the support of my family and friends, but I’m not surprised – the St Vincent de Paul Society is a worthy cause, helping many people in their time of need,” Eddy said.
“I’m just an everyday person, but I’ve had my share of hardships. At one point my entire life was falling apart as I battled with a rare, life-threatening illness. I was near death many times and it’s only by the grace of God that I’m still alive. My experience has completely changed my perspective and I’ve learnt how important it is to reach out and help your neighbour. I know the value of having someone to turn to when you think there’s no hope. I’m passionate about fostering awareness of the St Vincent de Paul Society, and the Community Sleepout is a great way for me to spread the word and stand up for the homeless.”
“I encourage anyone with kindness in their heart to support the event by way of donation or by taking part themselves – it’s definitely an eye-opening experience,” Eddy added.
Participants will experience a night of information, discussion and experiential activities, before bedding down on within the campus to experience just a taste of what it’s like to sleep rough for a night. By making the commitment to spend a night without the creature comforts of home, participants will be helping to raise awareness of the issue and raise much-needed funds to help those at risk.
Why support the Vinnies Western Sydney Community Sleepout?
The St Vincent de Paul Society provided more than $939,500 in material assistance to struggling individuals and families across Western Sydney in the 2018-19 financial year. Our work in the region relies heavily on the selfless commitment of volunteers and is primarily funded by revenue from Vinnies shops and the generosity of donors. The 2019 Western Sydney Community Sleepout aims to raise $80,000 to ensure the continuation of a range of initiatives that help prevent homelessness by providing a ‘hand up’ to those in need.
Housing stress (where more than 30% of household income spent on rent or mortgage) is one of the biggest drivers of disadvantage in Australia, giving thousands of families few options if something happens that impacts their ability to pay their rent or mortgage.
According to Communities of Change: Western Sydney Now and Into the Future (May 2018):
- Western Sydney has an estimated resident population of close to 2.4 million people – housing almost half of Greater Sydney’s population.
- The median weekly gross household income in Western Sydney is $145 per week less than the Greater Sydney median.
- A higher proportion of households in Western Sydney (45.7 per cent) experience housing stress compared to Greater Sydney (36.7 per cent).
Register to participate, sponsor a participant, donate to the event or learn more about the initiative at www.communitysleepout.org.au/western-sydney
With thanks to the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW.