01 Jun, 2011 Last updated: 17 Nov, 2014

Associate Professor John Fitzgerald, Acting CEO of VicHealth, will get a first-hand glimpse of what it’s like to be homeless when he spends a night out in the cold for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

Associate Professor John Fitzgerald, Acting CEO of VicHealth, will get a first-hand glimpse of what it’s like to be homeless when he spends a night out in the cold for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The event will be held in cities across Australia simultaneously on Thursday 16 June 2011, with the Melbourne event taking place on the concourse at Etihad Stadium.

A/Prof Fitzgerald said while homelessness is often the result of poverty, unemployment and lack of housing, many people don’t realise that family violence is a major contributor to homelessness in Australia.

“I hope that by participating in this event, I can do my part to raise awareness about the hidden aspect of homelessness in Australia – the unacceptable number of women (and their children) who escape a violent partner with nowhere to go.

“This is just one night of discomfort for the CEOs, but thousands of Australians are facing the reality of a long, hard winter on the streets. Please dig deep for St Vincent De Paul, by sponsoring me or donating directly.”

Over 100,000 Australians are homeless and over 34,000 of these are children according to official numbers* but anecdotally, this could be much higher. This event will raise important funds for the ongoing provision of St Vincent de Paul Society's homeless services, the demand for which is increasing.

St Vincent de Paul Society Victorian president, Tony Tome said: “Homelessness is a growing problem, and in today’s financial climate more people than ever are turning to us for help. We’re seeing people who often fall through the cracks such as single parents and elderly women emerging as the new face of homelessness. It really is an issue that can affect anyone in our community.

“We want to raise awareness of homelessness by giving our community leaders like John the chance to experience a glimpse of life on the streets. He’ll be given a beanie, some cardboard and soup from our soup van on the night, but other than those small comforts, it will be a long, cold night. We hope the local community will get behind him with some sponsorship dollars.”

To sponsor John, visit www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/vic-ceos/profile/?ceo=607  

ENDS

Media contact: Jane Gardner, VicHealth, 03 9667 1319 / 0435 761 732

*2006 census