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WITH a forecast minimum of minus 1C, the 140 participants in the Canberra leg of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout are in for a testing time sleeping rough at the National Museum on Thursday night to raise money for Canberra’s homeless.
“This year, Vinnies is aiming to raise $480,000 to help deliver their services across the Canberra/Goulburn region to people at risk and currently experiencing homelessness,” said Barnie van Wyk, local CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society who is sleeping out for the second time.
“In 2017, the funds raised from the CEO Sleepout helped to assist 13,795 people at risk or experiencing homelessness across the Canberra/Goulburn region. These funds also helped provide 11,475 instances of support through the Night Patrol Van, and assist 83 people to access tertiary education through the Clemente program.”
He said there were 1596 people experiencing homelessness in the ACT, 42 per cent of whom are under 24.
Since 2001 there had been a 169 per cent increase in people experiencing homelessness in the ACT, and a 341 per cent increase in the number of people living in supported accommodation for the homeless. These were just some of the people offered a hand up by Vinnies.
Participants this year include Frances Adamson, secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dr Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial; Justine Saunders, ACT chief police officer and Greg Hood, CEO of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, who was the top fundraiser at last year’s Sleepout.