CEOs sleep out at University of Melbourne’s iconic underground carpark to help homeless

Image of homeless person on the street.
It is hoped the Sleepout will raise $700 000 for the homeless.

The University of Melbourne will welcome 223 of Victoria’s most influential business and community leaders to the iconic South Lawn Underground Carpark tonight for the 12th annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The flagship fundraising and advocacy event helps raise money for the homeless. It is an opportunity for community and business leaders to spend a night sleeping rough to gain a greater awareness of what life is like for people experiencing hardship.

It is also a chance for to raise understanding of the complex social and economic factors that lead to poverty and homelessness.

University of Melbourne Provost Margaret Sheil will join other participants sleeping on the carpark’s concrete floor.

Professor Sheil said the University was proud to host the event that aims to raise $700 000 for the Vinnies Soup Vans and other crucial volunteer services.

“Through our support of Vinnies, we are empowering an army of over 60 000 volunteers across the country who spend time with people to help them navigate complex and often overwhelming social issues,” Professor Sheil said.

“We hope that by hosting the Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout more funds can be raised to help break the cycle of homelessness.”

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria CEO Sue Cattermole said it would be an important night to focus the attention of all tiers of government and the broader community on the experiences of the 2.5 million Australians living below the poverty line.

The event has already raised $608 575 to support the Vinnies Soup Vans, which is heralded as one of Victoria’s most important services for offering friendship and food, face to face - rain, hail or shine.

The theme of this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout is #FaceToFace with Poverty, highlighting that economic hardship is a common denominator in the lives of people experiencing homelessness.