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RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry will brave the winter elements next week for the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday, 20 June.
Sinderberry, who will represent the Western Australian rugby community, will spend a night at the WACA with no more than a sleeping bag and a cardboard box for shelter to help raise awareness and funds for the homeless in WA.
This is the fourth year the event has taken place in Western Australia and will assist more than 100,000 people who find themselves homeless in Australia each night – with one-third of them children and young people.
RugbyWA is seeking donations for the CEO Sleepout that will assist to support two of the St Vincent de Paul Society’s WA-based youth homeless services, that currently receive no Government funding. Click here to donate.
Sinderberry says it’s important that the rugby community supports community causes, such as homelessness.
“It’s shocking to learn that there are more than 30,000 kids that find themselves without a home each night in a ‘lucky’ country like Australia,” he said.
“While it’s easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day problems, it’s so important that we remain an active member of society and give back for the betterment of the community in which we live.
“We appreciate that RugbyWA represents so many fortunate people in this state and this is an opportunity to get behind a fantastic initiative to support those that may not be as fortunate as ourselves.
“The pleasing thing is that money raised in WA will remain in the state and will assist in alleviating the problem in WA.”
Sinderberry says there are many factors that result in people and families becoming homeless.
“When I arrived in Perth from the UK, I was still suffering the effects of jetlag and spent several nights walking around the city at all hours of the morning. I remember being staggered by the number of homeless people in what is supposed to be an affluent society – and these were only the ones I saw.
“Having spoken to [St Vincent de Paul Society WA CEO] Mark Fitzpatrick, it’s not just about the old man sleeping in the park, there are entire families whose financial situations are so dire that they can no longer afford to live in their homes and are now living in cars and refuges.
“It’s staggering to learn who and how many people are homeless.”
Click here to watch Mark Sinderberry’s discussion with Mark Fitzpatrick (CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society WA) on the CEO Sleepout.
Fitzpatrick says the Vinnies CEO Sleepout has become an essential tool to help to tackle the problem of homelessness in the state.
“The Sleepout brings the issue of homelessness to the forefront of the community agenda and this vital awareness has helped many in our community to better understand the impact of homelessness on individuals, on families and on our community at large,” he said.
“Over the last three years the Vinnies CEO Sleepout in WA has raised over $1.8million which has allowed the Society, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Perth, to expand and continue to provide support services for homeless and street present young people [12-25 year olds].
“The event has also provided direct support to individuals and families in crisis and on the knife edge of homelessness ensuring they are able to remain in their homes and not become a statistic of homelessness and part of the vicious cycle that is homelessness.”
Click here to make a donation to St Vincent de Paul Society for the CEO Sleepout.