Vinnies’ Community Sleepout raises thousands for homeless Tasmanians.

Community concerns about the cost of living and rising energy prices have dampened donations but not the enthusiasm of participants in the Vinnies’ Community Sleepout. This is the view of St Vincent de Paul Society State President, Mr Mark Gaetani, who said that despite having less disposable income, the Vinnies Community Sleepout will raise around $100,000 about the same as last year when Vinnies Sleepout raised just over $100k.

“So far, the hundreds of participants – from school children to politicians – have raised over $50,000 to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. We still have pledges to count and the fundraising campaign will remain active until the end of July, so we are hopeful of matching or exceeding last year’s total,” Mr Gaetani said.

“The 2022 Community Sleepout has been a great success as far as raising awareness of homelessness and that a growing number of Tasmanians are at risk of homelessness. The same issues that tip otherwise comfortable Tasmanians into homelessness – insecure work, rising rents, cost of living increase for basics like food and electricity – have exacerbated our ability to raise the much needed funds to help Tasmanians in distress.

“It is easy to equate the number of homeless in Tasmania to those sleeping rough on the streets, in our parks, and under bridges. These are just the ‘visible homeless’ who represent just eight per cent of those in need. The invisible 92 per cent live in insecure, temporary, overcrowded, and unsafe places; and that number could easily double if you count Tasmanians who are at risk of homelessness.

The Minister for Housing, the Hon. Guy Barnett, MP who participated in Vinnies 2022 Community Sleepout said that it’s great to be able to support the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Community Sleepout, which promotes awareness of issues around homelessness and the ongoing need for support.”

“The St Vincent de Paul Society provides essential services to those in need and this is really appreciated by the Tasmanian Government and the community. By working together in partnership, we can really make a difference in the lives of the homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless,” Minister Barnett said

Mr Gaetani added that Vinnies’ Community Sleepout encouraged more people from different walks of life to participate in this critically important campaign to raise awareness and funding for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

“Across Tasmania, hundreds of CEOs and community leaders slept rough for the night; and we also had other community participants sleeping in tents, in the family car, or on their verandas. Others chose to give up the comfort and warmth of their beds to couch surf or sleep on the floor, with little more than a single blanket,” Mr Gaetani said.

“On behalf of the Society, I’d like to thank all participants for their outstanding supporters and everyone who donated to the 2022 Community Sleepout. You are all fantastic people and your generosity is absolutely amazing. Our top fundraising participant for 2022 is RACT Group CEO, Mark Mugnaioni, who has raised almost $8,000 so far. This donation alone could fund multiple individual support programmes or 10,000 nutritious meals on Vinnies and Loui’s food vans.

“People who donated to the Community Sleepout can see their donation at work every night as some of the money is used to distribute hot meals and warm blankets via our Loui’s Vans and Vinnies Vans to people sleeping rough. However, in one way or another, Vinnies uses every cent of the money raised to assist and improve the lives of homeless Tasmanians.

“We will also use part of the proceeds to find accommodation for families without a home and to help them re-establish their lives. Our Emergency Relief team is already identifying how and where we should allocate Vinnies’ 2022 Community Sleepout funds, to ensure they achieve the best results.

“Homelessness must not become an issue we think about every winter or when we hold the CEO and Community Sleepouts. We owe the homeless and those at risk of homelessness more than that,” Mr Gaetani said.

To donate to Vinnies’ 2022 Community Sleepout, please visit Donations close at the end of July.

MEDIA NOTES: The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.

Media contact, Mark Wells: +61 414 015 966 (24-hours)
© St Vincent de Paul Society and MWPA.

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