Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Minister to sleep rough for homelessness

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor will join business, government and community leaders to sleep rough for one night next week to raise funds in support of Vinnies homelessness services.

Mr O’Connor will take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout outside the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on Thursday, 21 June – joining CEOs sleeping rough in capital cities across Australia.

With the overnight temperature forecast to be below zero in the national capital, the CEOs will be sleeping outside with just three sheets of cardboard and a sleeping bag.

“Now in its seventh year, the CEO Sleepout offers a glimpse into the challenges faced by people who will not have a roof over their head this winter,” Mr O’Connor said.

“This will be just one night for me, but for too many Australians sleeping rough is daily challenge.

“An estimated 105,000 people are without a place to call home on any given night, with more than 16,000 people sleeping rough.

“The Gillard Government believes all Australians deserve a safe, secure home and we are committed to tackling the complex challenges that homelessness poses.

“Without a secure home, people struggle to find and keep jobs or stay in training or education, or to keep their kids in school.

“That’s why we have made homelessness a national reform priority and have committed to halving the overall rate of homelessness by 2020.

“It is of absolute importance that we as a government and society do all we can to reduce the number of people who are homeless. I encourage all Australians to get involved in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout by either registering to sleep out or by making a donation.”

Donations can be made online at . All donations go towards the ongoing provision of St Vincent de Paul homeless services across the country.