By THEO PANAGOPOULOS
photo: flickr\ Andrew Kudrin
Some of South Australia’s leading business executives will spend a cold night away from their home comforts this month as part of a national fundraiser to help homeless people.
The annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout is to be held on June 21, making Adelaide Oval a bed for those South Australian high ranking business leaders who are up for the challenge.
In South Australia there are currently 87 registered CEOs accepting donations on the CEOs Sleepout website, raising much needed funds for the homeless.
The South Australian CEO Sleepout donations are currently standing at around $123,000 with the national total exceeding $1.3 million.
SA Sleepout CEO Mr Steve Maras, Managing Director of Maras Group, says all participants are going to learn a lot more about homelessness.
“It will be an opportunity for all of us to see exactly how difficult some people are doing it here on a daily basis,” Mr Maras said.
During the Sleepout, no luxury bedding will be allowed and only basic food such as soup and bread rolls will be served.
According to the CEO Sleepout website there are more than 100,000 Australians who sleep rough each night of the year.
A quarter of these are under the age of 18.
The last Census, according to the Bureau of Statistics, showed almost 50,000 homeless Australians were on the street every night.
In South Australia the St Vincent de Paul Society provides services to those who have been affected by the various stages of homelessness.
There are currently around 8,000 people identified as homeless in our state.
Some of the most common reasons for homelessness in South Australia include family breakdown, unemployment, drugs and domestic violence.
“Homelessness is an enormous community concern and until you look into the issue, you just don’t realise the extent of the problem and how many people it affects,” Mr Maras said.
“I firmly believe that everyone has the ability to help out, even if it’s just a bit as every bit helps.
“I would like to see many more SA CEO’s getting involved.”
Vinnies CEO Sleepout started as a local community venture in Sydney’s Parramatta in 2006.
In 2010 the event was launched nationally and attracted almost 700 CEOs, raising about $3 million.
Last year the event raised $4.2 million nationally, directly assisting people experiencing homelessness.
The money has funded new projects and assisted with the provision of existing services for the homeless such as the expansion of Vinnies’ programs.