Homelessness Services Threatened as Vinnies CEO Sleepout Fails to Attract Sponsors

Words by: Mandy Tu

Vinnies CEO Sleepout, the biggest annual fundraiser organized and initiated by WA’s St Vincent de Paul homeless services, is taking place this evening, on the 18th of June.

Their aim this year is to raise $10 million, but so far, they have only raised half of the money compared to last year: $650,000 to last year’s $1.25 million, despite the record breaking number of participants this year.

The event sees business and community leaders sleeping rough on the streets for one night. CEOs such as Minderoo Foundation’s Nicola Forrest, Crown Perth’s Barry Felstead, and first-timer WA Treasurer Mike Nathan have participated in this endeavour.

However, their efforts, it seems, may not be enough to help the vast number of homeless people who will have to face the oncoming winter months, living on the streets.

St Vincent de Paul’s chief executive Mark Fitzpartick has told reporters that tough economic times may be the reason that people are more hesitant to donate.

“People are starting to tighten the belts, there is uncertainly around and that flows through,” he said.

“The unfortunate thing for us is when there is downturn we actually get more people needing the services that we provide.

“We’ve only got one of six of our homeless services funded by Government so these events are important for us to help those in need.”

He adds that without more funding, the organization would have considerably more difficulty in getting as many people off the streets.

“Currently around 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness in WA, and the majority of people experiencing homelessness are under the age of 35 – people in the prime of their life who have become trapped in a cycle of disadvantage.”

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