For Nicole Van Ingen and her family, homelessness has a face and it’s personal. That face is the birth mother of their adopted son David, who has had to call the streets home for much of the last 10 years.
Wanting the best for her child and knowing she could never keep him safe on the streets or give him a life he deserved, David’s birth mother made the toughest decision any mother could make and decided to give her beautiful son up for adoption.
On Thursday 21 June, Nicole Van Ingen, Principal of St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Parish Primary School, Milton, will sleep rough for a night as the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong representative at the 2018 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, in solidarity for David’s "tummy mummy", who relies on Vinnies to help her with clean clothes and a train fare to visit her son.
In Australia there are over 116,000 people suffering from homelessness every night, with 45,813 of these being women and 15,872 children under the age of 12. 59% of the people supported by specialist homelessness services are female (Homelessness Australia).
One woman is killed every week in Australia as a result of domestic and family violence. This threat to their safety means many women and children are forced to leave their home and seek support from specialist homelessness services such as St Vincent de Paul.
Nicole’s family will make the journey to Wollongong with her and spend the night in some warm, comfy accommodation nearby, while she sleeps rough in the cold as a sign of solidarity for all the women who are suffering homelessness.
While her children are very excited about her upcoming adventure, Nicole said they understand she is doing something special to help David’s "tummy mummy" and her friends.
If you would like to support Nicole and sponsor her at the 2018 Vinnes CEO Sleepout, please click here
National Families Week is held from 15-21 May 2018