For me, the arrival of winter conjures daydreams of snow holidays, leather boots, warm coats and scarves — so many scarves! But, when the weather starts to cool, my thoughts also go to the 105,000 Australians experiencing homelessness. At the end of each day I go home to a roof over my head, a home-cooked meal and a warm bed. For many Australians, this reality does not exist.
Homelessness in Australia is ever-present, and it can affect almost anyone — men, women and children of all ages. Did you know 27% of Australia’s homeless population are children? Did you know most Australians are only two pay days away from being homeless?
If you were made redundant or became so sick you were unable to work, how long would you be able to continue paying your mortgage? Your rent? Your bills?
Not being able to support yourself is not such an outlandish concept when you no longer have an income. What would you do in this situation? Who would you turn to for help?
For many, the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland is an invaluable lifeline, providing support services to one in every 18 Queenslanders every year. Vinnies provides a hand up to those experiencing homelessness and does everything it can to break the cycle.
Rowland has proudly supported Vinnies for the past five years, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with the team on the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. It’s an annual fundraising event that challenges business, government and community leaders to experience for one night what it can be like to be homeless, while raising much-needed funds to address the issue.
Next Thursday, more than 350 Queensland leaders, and more than 1,500 Australia-wide, will sleep rough to fight homelessness. While I won’t be sleeping out myself — Chairman Geoff Rodgers is representing Rowland — I’ll be volunteering at the Brisbane event with some of my colleagues.
What will you be doing this Thursday night? Will you have a roof over your head? Will you be sleeping in a warm bed? Please spare a thought — and some change — for those that don’t have access to this luxury. Please donate to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout and help Vinnies fight homelessness.
General donations: www.ceosleepout.org.au
Donations to support Rowland Chairman Geoff Rodgers: www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/qld-ceos/geoff-rodgers-rowland/