CEO Sleepout - My ExperienceStellar's Global CEO recounts his experiences participating in 'Vinnies CEO Sleepout'
While the act of sleeping out in the cold was certainly part of the experience, for me there were two aspects of the evening that were far more profound.
The first was the opportunity to meet some of the Vinnie’s staff who work tirelessly in support of the community. In particular I chatted to a chap who worked on one of the soup vans and primarily delivered food to boarding houses. My initial reaction was "great, at least people have somewhere to live beyond the street", however he then explained that it was very much a duel edged sword in that quite a number of these "boarding houses" exploited the homeless. He gave specific examples of standard suburban houses that are separated into 10 rooms. Each tenant is charged $200 or more per week for their room with, if they're lucky, a shared bathroom and occasionally a functioning kitchen....you do the math on the return to the property owner!
The second thing that made the most impact for me was the opportunity to hear from three people from the homeless community who told their stories. One of these in particular reiterated the "boarding house" culture of violence, drug use, anti-social behaviour and, most alarmingly, the violent stand over tactics of some landlords. I found that all three speakers collectively dispelled the myths of homelessness and each in their own way was very inspiring.
Without doubt I finished this experience with a fresh awareness of the challenge of homelessness and the need for us as a collective community to tackle and solve the problem.
Thank you for supporting my participation in the 2012 CEO Sleepout. Your generous donations enabled me to raise $9711.
For more information of the 'Vinnies CEO Sleepout' visit their website.