CHIEF executives of Australian companies will brave the elements again this winter to boost awareness about homelessness and to raise money for services.The St Vincent de Paul Society’s annual CEO Sleepout will go national this year with chief executives sleeping on a piece of cardboard for one night in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Darwin.The NSW Minister for Community Services, Linda Burney, who participated last year, said she would be taking a sleeping pill at this year’s event on June 17. ”A lot of you males snore,” she said to the handful gathered at Matthew Talbot Hostel in Woolloomooloo yesterday to launch the event.The chief executive of the society, John Falzon, said the night was not easy. ”Participants literally bed down on a sheet of cardboard on the ground, with only a mug of soup to sustain them, on what is usually one of the coldest nights of the year.”Last year it rained non-stop but still most of those who were there have indicated they will come back again this year.”Dr Falzon said it was especially important for the ”big end of town” to understand the issues of homelessness as they were often the ones who had the power to influence change. Homelessness was the responsibility of governments, businesses, the service sector and the wider community.At the last census, in 2006, 105,000 people nationally were listed as homeless but the real number was likely to be much bigger. The society says that with the global financial crisis forcing many into disadvantage, the new face of homelessness is families.Bruce McKenzie, chief executive of InterContinental Hotels, said that would resonate with most of the chief executives who had families. He was among 213 to sleep out last year.”I think we’re sometimes seen as being a pampered group and rarely having to put up with any sort of deprivation in our lives.”[The sleepout] has made me much more aware of the issue of homelessness,” he said.The society hopes to raise $1 million.
Nanjing Night Net