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(St Vincent de Paul Society)

Parliament House in Canberra will for the first time hold the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout to support Australians experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. Source: Canberra Times

While some may be used to huddling within the halls of power, this winter business and community leaders will spend the night bedding down in the Parliament House parking lot.

Launching the 15th Sleepout at the landmark last week, the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn said the aim was to raise more than $800,000 to support its work in the ACT and surrounding regions.

Fifty community and business leaders have already signed on and the charity expects about 150 people will take part when the sleepout is held on June 20.

Among them will be Speaker of the House Milton Dick.

“I will be zipping up my sleeper bag to make sure that I am not feeling the elements.

“It can get quite cold in June so we’ll be asking people to dig deep to make sure they contribute to this amazing cause”

Senate President Sue Lines said the number of people who find themselves “without a place to reside at night is growing”.

“Women are particularly vulnerable, older women. Young people we know do a lot of couch-surfing,” she said.

“I think that image of old men who are homeless, hopefully is a thing of the past because anyone can find themselves without a home.”

St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn chief executive Lucy Hohnen said the money raised through the event will be vital to its work, helping “those experiencing the very toughest of times”.

“Funds raised will continue to build on the momentum from previous sleepouts to respond to an even greater need in our community by providing ongoing funding for additional specialist homelessness caseworkers, to help those sleeping rough transition back into society, by expanding the night patrol teams and introducing a new third route on the road supporting more people than ever before,” she said.

For details of Vinnies CEO Sleepout events across Australia, visit


‘People’s house will become St Vinnies house’: CEO sleepout launched (Canberra Times)