Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Sleeping Rough to Support Homeless

CEOs, business leaders and politicians around Australia are tonight sleeping rough in support of the 2011 Vinnies’ CEO Sleepout.

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib will join more than 250 CEOs and business leaders in Sydney to sleep rough at Luna Park.

Senator Arbib said the aim of the night was to give all the participants an insight into the struggles homeless people face every night.

“It is estimated that there are close to 105,000 Australians who are homeless including around 16,000 people who sleep rough every night,” Senator Arbib said.

“Most people who are homeless are under the age of 35 and more than 40 per cent are women.

“People who are homeless come from many backgrounds and its causes are complex – including family breakdown, loss of employment, domestic violence and mental illness.

“While there is a great deal of energy and momentum within Government, the sector and in the business community to better address homelessness, there is much more that needs to be done to tackle this important issue.

“I strongly encourage the corporate sector to work with organisations such as Vinnies to better address homelessness.

“We also need to continue encouraging the community to help Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Not-for-profit organisations such as St Vincent De Paul do a fantastic job providing support to vulnerable Australians, including those who are homeless.

“I urge all Australians to continue donating to the Sleepout, which last year raised $2.9 million and is aiming to pass $4 million this year.”

To support Vinnies’ Sleepout and my fundraising efforts you can donate online at

Senator Arbib said the Gillard Government was committed to reducing homelessness and had made it a national priority.

“We have committed almost $5 billion in new funding to better assist those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” Senator Arbib said.

“This includes working with the states and territories under the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness to introduce more than 180 new or expanded services.

“We have built more than 20,000 new homes for those who don’t have access to secure housing under the Government’s housing agenda.

“In the recent Budget, the Government invested an additional $1.5 billion to better address mental health, including $200 million for a new National Partnership Agreement with the states and territories.

“Under this mental health package, we hope to break the cycle of homelessness for people suffering from debilitating mental illness by preventing exits from hospitals into homelessness.”