Mission Australia encourages Highlanders to take part in annual Sleepout

The very first Sleepout in 1988. Photo: supplied
The very first Sleepout in 1988. Photo: supplied

Highlanders are being encouraged to get some “eye-opening” sleep to raise awareness and funds to help end homelessness.

This year, Mission Australia will mark 30 years since its first Sleepout in 1988.

Over three decades, the initiative, which invites individuals to spend a night sleeping away from the comfort of their bed, has involved more than 50,000 people and raised over $3 million for homelessness services.

In asking people to rough it for a night, Mission Australia seeks to give individuals a brief glimpse into the reality of the lives of 116,000 people in Australia who are homeless on any given night.

“We know that most of us can’t truly understand what it’s like to be homeless, but the Sleepout experience is an opportunity for everyday Australians to comprehend the plight of people who are experiencing homelessness, which can equip them for further action and advocacy,” Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said.

“While it’s a significant milestone, unfortunately there aren’t many reasons to celebrate on the Sleepout’s 30th birthday. Homelessness rates in Australia are rising, which is largely due to the escalating costs of rental properties and a lack of social and affordable housing. There’s never been a more critical time to shed light on the effects of the housing affordability crisis.

Mr Toomey said sleeping rough was just “the tip of the iceberg”.

Many people that are homeless are not out on the streets but living out of a car, on a friend’s couch or in a overcrowded share house.

“We want to see a national plan that commits to ending homelessness by 2030 and addresses the main drivers such as family violence, poverty and the lack of affordable housing.”

Visit https://act.missionaustralia.com.au/event/sleepout2018 for more information and to register for Mission Australia’s 30 Years of Sleepout 

  • Are you taking part in this year’s Sleepout?We’d love to share your story with the  community. Send the details through our website at http://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/community, send us your story