Vinnies NSW is calling on residents across the Southern Highlands to spend a night braving the cold on Friday, August 27 in support of locals experiencing hardship and homelessness.
Participants will sleep out at St Paul's Catholic Primary School, Moss Vale, as one of 12 sites across the state taking part in the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout.
All funds raised locally will remain in the region to expand the support Vinnies provides with emergency and financial relief for people in need of assistance throughout the region, including food, clothing, temporary accommodation and household bills.
Vinnies NSW is closely following the evolving COVID-19 situation and adhering to the public health orders and advice provided by NSW Health and the NSW Government; this may result in changes from what is currently planned for the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout.
Over the past year Vinnies members in the Southern Highlands supported 240 people with $63,000 in financial and material assistance.
Renee Cooper, Vinnies South Regional Director, encouraged Southern Highlands residents to take part in the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout in order to gain a greater understanding of hardship occurring in the local community.
"This year's event will have a greater local focus to highlight the reality that hardship can affect everyone," said Ms Cooper.
"In the past year 54% of people seeking assistance from Vinnies members across the Southern Highlands did so due to a lack of food.
"Additionally, 53% struggled to meet housing costs with 30% or more of their income spent on rent, while 67 people relied on JobSeeker as their primary source of income.
"People don't set out to be in these circumstances; they find themselves having to make gut-wrenching choices between skipping meals so that their kids can eat and going without medical care because the price is prohibitive.
"We're able to help people who fall on hard times at Vinnies and we hope that the community can learn more about the work we do by signing up for the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout."
People can register to take part and donate at www.vinnies.org.au/communitysleepout
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