Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2020 goes online, businesses urged to register

Dubbo business owners and community leaders are encouraged to unite together this June to take part in a national online sleepout to raise funds for Vinnies' homelessness services.

For the first time, the national sleepout on June, 18 will be held online.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout will take place in cars, backyards and on couches across the country as participants join an interactive, live-streamed broadcast through their phones, tablets or computers.

The online event will be hosted by television personality Dr Andrew Rochford.

"I've seen the difference that Vinnies' homelessness services make first-hand, and the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is such an important fundraiser to make sure they can continue helping thousands of people every year," Dr Rochford said.

The 2019 Sleepout raised $7.9 million for Vinnies' homelessness services across Australia, which include accommodation; domestic violence refuges; food, clothing, blankets and sleeping bags; counselling and healthcare; and individualised support.

The aim of the Sleepout is to address barriers such as debt and unemployment, and hopefully ultimately lead to helping people find a permanent and safe home.

"It's great to see Vinnies, and the business and community leaders who participate in the sleepout, adapt to ensure this year's event can go ahead in the midst of coronavirus," Dr Rochford said.

"The onset of a global health crisis means people facing homelessness need that support more than ever."

In past years the Vinnies CEO Sleepout has comprised several events in major cities across Australia, but in 2020, all participants will join one online event.

They are invited to nominate their own sleeping location, such as their car, couch, or outdoors in their backyard.

Each of these locations reflect the reality for many of the 116,000 people experiencing homelessness across the country.

Of these, around one in 14 people are 'sleeping rough', but many more are hidden from sight behind closed doors and nonetheless unable to find a suitable and safe place to sleep.

This year, participants can also involve their partner and children, helping the whole family to learn more about the growing issue of homelessness in Australia.

Those interested can register online at www.ceosleepout.org.au.