After two years of virtual events, the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout will be back for 2022 in August, this year at the Maitland Showground.
Locals from across the Hunter will brave the cold for a night to raise funds and awareness in support of homelessness in the community on Friday, August 19.
This years event will allow participants to gain newfound insights into the realities of homelessness by bedding down for the night at the Maitland Showground's McDonald Pavilion.
Funds raised from the night will remain in the community to support Vinnies Conferences across the Hunter region, which provide financial and material aid to locals in need.
In the news:
At the moment more than 116,000 people in Australia go to bed each night without a safe and secure place to live.
NSW accounts for over a third of the national total with well over 37,000 people experiencing homelessness.
The current waitlist for social housing in NSW is approximately 50,000 applicants or the equivalent of 110,000 people many of whom have been waiting for up to ten years for a home.
Across the Hunter region, 4,000 applicants are listed for social housing, including 300 classified for priority housing.
Jack de Groot, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, encourages everyone to take part in this years event to gain a greater understanding of the factors that lead people to seek assistance from charities, such as Vinnies, at a growing rate.
Every day our members are meeting with people who are under enormous pressure to try and get by with the necessities of life, said Mr de Groot.
People shouldnt have to struggle over basics like do I have enough to eat? or will I be able to keep a roof over my head?, but sadly that is becoming an all too familiar story that is pushing people into homelessness.
Housing prices and rents are pricing people out of the communities theyve grown up in and there simply isnt enough social housing available to meet the demand.
More than 220, people took part in the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout last year, raising a record total of almost $297,000 to support the societys work in local communities across the state offering food, clothing, temporary accommodation and support with bills to people experiencing hardship.
Register to take part and donate at www.vinnies.org.au/communitysleepout.
Do you know you can subscribe to get full access to all Maitland Mercury stories? Subscribing supports us in our local news coverage. To subscribe, click here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.