Housing Trust chief executive Michele Adair is among 30 executives and community leaders sleeping out in the cold this month to help the St Vincent de Paul Society raise awareness about homelessness in the region.
Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Wollongong on June 21 will not only raise funds but highlight the fact there are 3500 people who don’t have a safe and affordable place to live in the region.
There are also 8000 households in housing stress.
Ms Adair recently proposed that 5000 more homes were needed in the next decade to meet the region’s shortfall in social and affordable housing.
She is sleeping out in the cold with other CEO’s this month because it is important to raise awareness and funds for a growing problem in many communities.
Ms Adair said it was great that so many business leaders were spending the night outdoors at St Mary’s Star of the Sea.
“Organisations like Vinnies are at the forefront of the homelessness crisis as they help people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are faced with the reality of sleeping rough every night of the week,” she said.
“Housing Trust properties and support services are the next step in the journey as, typically, people can only stay in homeless shelters for one or two nights. We supply affordable housing for people who have experienced economic hardship, domestic violence, disability or health issues.”
“As a community we cannot work in silos. We need to work together at all levels of society to address this growing crisis.”
The Australina Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines someone as homeless if their living arrangement is inadequate, has no security or does not allow control of and access to space for relationships.
Funds raised from the CEO Sleepout will help Vinnies provide food, accommodation and support services to those in need across the region.
Vinnies Wollongong Central Council executive officer Peter Quarmby said it was people such as Ms Adair who helped make the CEO Sleepout a success and so worthwhile.
“I welcome the opportunity for organisations such as the Housing Trust and Vinnies to work closely together to combat the rising cost of housing, which contributes so significantly to the increased risk of homelessness within our communities,” he said.
Ms Adair said collaboration was a good way to make a lasting impact.
“Vinnies’ commitment to working with the Housing Trust to achieve a target of 15 per cent affordable housing in all new development sites is a strong starting point to achieving tangible outcomes for our communities,” she said.