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Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Minister supports Vinnies CEO Sleepout

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib today encouraged CEOs across Australia to sign up and experience homelessness first-hand to support the St Vincent De Paul Society’s homelessness services across the country.

Senator Arbib said he would join registered CEO’s across Australia as they sleep rough for the night on 16 June to raise awareness of homelessness.

“Thanks to organisation such as Vinnies homeless Australians are provided with temporary accommodation daily, however sleeping rough is the reality for more than 16,000 Australians each night,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Gillard Government is committed to working with community organisations, State and Territory Governments and private industry to break the cycle of homelessness.

“By sleeping out for one night Australia’s CEOs are taking a step to improve awareness about this issue and raising money which directly supports Vinnies homelessness services across the country.

“It would be fantastic if the 2011 sleep out surpassed last year’s efforts – which attracted almost 700 CEOs and raised $2.9 million.”

Senator Arbib said the Australian Government had committed to ambitious goals to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported accommodation to all those who seek it by 2020.

“Working with community organisations including Vinnies is vital if we are to achieve our goals to reduce homelessness,” Senator Arbib said.

“Vinnies works with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, addressing their immediate needs such as shelter and food, and also giving them the broader support to break the cycle of homelessness.

“Since 2008, the Australian Government has increased funding to address homelessness by almost $5 billion, including building more than 10,000 new homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”

The 2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Launceston and Darwin.

To register, or for more information, visit www.ceosleepout.org.au