Vinnies CEO Sleepout: Greek Australians brave cold for homelessness awareness

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The annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout saw 1,500 CEOs and community leaders across Australia brave the freezing cold on Thursday night to raise awareness and funds in support of homelessness.

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO Yolanda Saiz told Sky News Australia there were about 300 leaders in Sydney who swapped out their beds for cardboard boxes last night, with NSW raising $2.5 million and Australia as a whole raising $7.7 million for homelessness.

“It got pretty cold out there, particularly on the waterfront, I think at about 3am, you could hear a few people starting to rustle as it just starts to get really uncomfortable, really cold,” Ms Saiz said.

“But it’s really important to remember, as I told the audience last night, all of us, including myself, will get to go home tonight to a really warm bed, but for those 122,0000 people who are homeless across this country, they will be tonight wondering where they are going to sleep.”

Greek Australian business leaders who braved the cold last night included Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director at Business Sydney, Chris Christofi, CEO at Reventon, John Livanas, CEO at State Super SAS Trustee Corporation, and Maria Lykouras, CEO at JBWere Australia, among many others.

Mr Nicolaou spoke to The Greek Herald after the sleepout and said he was proud to raise in excess of $112,000 to support the many Sydneysiders who are experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness. 

“Nobody chooses to be homeless, but it could happen to anyone. As a community, we need to break the cycle of homelessness and this is why I participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout,” Mr Nicolaou said.

“The need is all that much greater as families and individuals deal with the current cost-of-living crisis.

“With all our support we can help break the devastating cycle of homelessness. Donating to Vinnies can make a huge difference to people who need it most.”

According to the latest census, more than 122,000 people are reported to be homeless, with NSW accounting the most of any state or territory. Recent data from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare shows there has been a significant increase in unassisted requests for assistance over the last three years in NSW.

This is the 19th year the Vinnies CEO Sleepout has taken place, with more than $91 million raised nationally to support the vital work performed by the St Vincent de Paul Society’s homelessness services.

As well as spending the longest and coldest night of the year sleeping outdoors, each CEO Sleepout participant commits to raising funds to help Vinnies provide essential services to the people who need them.

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