Sleepout To Raise Funds For New Wave Of Homelessness

University of Adelaide Professor Noel Lindsay and University Senior College Principal Anita Zocchi will be taking part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout to raise funds for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Australia.

Noel Lindsay

Professor Noel Lindsay will be taking part in his fourth Vinnies CEO Sleepout

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is being held in the peak of winter on Thursday, 20 June at the Adelaide Oval for its 15th year.

With around 7500 people in South Australia experiencing homelessness or sleeping rough every night, the sleepout encourages leaders across the state to get involved.

This year will be Professor Lindsay’s fourth Vinnies CEO Sleepout where he has fundraised more than $10,000 overall. He first participated in the event in 2021 when it was held at Lot Fourteen.

“The thing that shocked me the first time I participated was thinking that I am a well-educated professional and sleeping rough will never happen to me; but then we heard from a highly educated woman with an impressive career who had been forced to sleep rough for three years after a number of difficult consecutive life events,” Professor Lindsay says.

“It blew me away and changed my mind. This can happen to anyone.”

For Zocchi, this will be her tenth CEO Sleepout, where she has raised a total of over $44,000. She first took part in 2013 seeing the importance and emergency of homelessness.

“I work in the city and see homelessness every day. Taking part is something that I could do to help with what I saw as a growing problem,” Zocchi says.

“Looking after others and caring for people is important to me and I think that active participation is a sign you really do care about something.”

“Taking part in the sleepout makes you realise how uncomfortable vulnerable people experiencing homelessness feel. It is an important experience to have.” Anita Zocchi, University Senior College Principal, the University of Adelaide

In the 2021 census, 122,494 people were estimated to be experiencing homelessness in South Australia, which represents an increase of 5.2 per cent and 6067 more people since 2016.

Vinnies SA Chief Executive Officer Evelyn O’Loughlin says they are seeing a new wave of people who are in need of assistance.

“Charities like Vinnies are struggling to support new demand, and we need more SA leaders to help us address this growing crisis of poverty and homelessness,” O’Loughlin says.

“Now more than ever, leaders from across our community, business and government sectors – and at every stage of their careers – can join together on the longest night of the year to better understand the impact of poverty and homelessness, while raising much needed dollars.”

Other members of the University of Adelaide’s leadership team have joined in the sleepout over the years, with the University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj AC raising the highest Vinnies CEO Sleepout amount of more than $44,000 in 2021.

Other prominent SA leaders in their field who have participated include Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier PSM, SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, Property Council of SA Executive Director Bruce Djite, RAA CEO Nick Reade, and South Australian Film Corporation CEO Kate Croser.

Zocchi says active participation brings the prevalent issue of homelessness to the surface.

“People experiencing homelessness can be invisible, and by putting a spotlight on the issue reduces the invisibility of the issue,” Zocchi says.

“When you don’t have a safe space each night, how can you work, go to school, and engage more generally in society? It brings with it many compounding issues.

“Taking part in the sleepout makes you realise how uncomfortable vulnerable people experiencing homelessness feel. It is an important experience to have.”

Vinnies offers major support to people experiencing homelessness in South Australia providing emergency accommodation for thousands of men, women, children and pets.

The organisation provides 36,662 meals each year for South Australians doing it tough through Fred’s Van. Vinnies also provides 2750 instances of assistance, including food hampers, clothing, and fuel vouchers to vulnerable refugees and migrants.

Donations can be made to Anita Zocchi’s and Professor Noel Lindsay’s fundraiser.

/University Release. View in full here.