Commanding Officer Navy Headquarters Tasmania, Commander Stacey Porter, recently roughed it as part of the Tasmanian 2015 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, raising awareness and funds for the plight of Australian homeless people.
The CEO Sleepout has been held annually for 10 years, evloving from a local community venture in Sydney’s Parramatta, to address the overwhelming problem of homelessness and the circumstances behind it. Since then, it has gained the attention of Australians, with Vinnies and senior leaders teaming up nationwide in cities and regional locales, to sacrifice their own creature comforts for a night in order to raise much needed funds to assist the cause.
On 18 June Commander Porter joined47 Tasmanian CEOs at Aurora Stadium in Launceston to sleep out in temperatures nearing zero. Like many homeless people, the participants had only a cardboard box, a sleeping bag and the clothes they had on their backs to keep them warm.
Commander Porter is a veteran of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, with this year's event being her third in the cold Tasmanian climate.
“It is never a solid sleep and it’s a harsh look at what homeless Tasmanians endure every night,” Commander Porter said.
Unlike most of the Australian mainland, Tasmanian homeless people suffer extreme cold weather for the majority of the year. Funds raised through local efforts go toward immediate and emergency assistance, as well as providing meals and nights in a bed.
“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a way we can raise awareness and support the great work of the St Vincent de Paul Society on behalf of homeless Australians,” Commander Porter said.
This year organisers aimed to raise $10 million, letting the public know the figure is not just a number, but a goal to provide crucial assistance while also taking action to break the cycle of homelessness for as many people as possible. Making their own positive contribution, Tasmanian CEOs raised over $130,000 which will go to assist 2,500 homeless Tasmanians.