Each year the St Vincent de Paul Society holds a national event, Vinnies CEO Sleepout, to raise awareness of the growing issue of homelessness.
It challenges business and community leaders, including leadership of Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong, to sleep rough for one night, experiencing first-hand what thousands of Australians experience every night.
This year our esteemed colleague Bede Ritchie has gallantly agreed to represent us all at the 2017 Wollongong Vinnies CEO Sleepout to be held at St Mary's Star of the Sea on Thursday 22 June. For those of you who don't know Bede, he is the Head of Finance, Facilities, ICLT and Planning.
One of the fasted growing social epidemics in Australia is homelessness and currently 105,237 people are experiencing homelessness every night across Australia; this represents an 8 per cent increase since the 2006 Census. Of these, 56 per cent are male and 44 per cent are female. 60 percent are under the age of 35, dispelling the myth that the 'average' person experiencing homelessness is the stereotypical older man.
Women are the most vulnerable. Domestic and family violence is the number one reason why women and children seek support from Vinnies and other specialist homeless services.
While the Vinnies CEO Sleepout offers a tiny glimpse into life on the streets, it is important to remember that behind each statistic is the plight of a fellow Australian who is experiencing extreme isolation and the desperation of homelessness.
If any member of our Catholic Education community would like to sponsor Bede and stand in solidarity with victims of homelessness, please follow the link below. Bede's target is $5,000 so please dig deep and support the wonderful work of St Vincent de Paul.