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NSW Vinnies community sleepout launched in Western Sydney

LOCALS in Western Sydney will brave the cold for a night to raise funds and gain newfound insights into the realities of homelessness as part of the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout on Friday August 25, at Western Sydney University’s Rydalmere campus.
Funds raised from the event will stay within the community to support four Vinnies Support Centres in Harris Park, Blacktown, Emerton and Penrith, which provide material and financial assistance to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 
Yolanda Saiz, CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, encouraged people to participate in this year's event to gain greater understanding of the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness and the factors that lead to disadvantage.
“The rising cost of living and housing crisis further exacerbates the conditions that push people into homelessness. It is driving many more people to seek assistance from charities in their time of need. In fact, 30% of people who sought assistance from our members did so for the first time.
“The reality is that many people are now faced with the difficult choice of putting food on the table or having a roof over their heads. This has sadly become an all-too-familiar story that our members witness every day,” said Ms Saiz.
"As the situation continues to worsen, it is crucial for us to acknowledge that homelessness can affect anyone, including our own families, friends, colleagues, and community members”, said Paul Burton, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW State President.
"My hope is that an event such as the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout will invite people to understand the pressures needing attention that are occurring in local communities state-wide.
“These pressures affecting hardship and homelessness must be urgently addressed,” said Mr Burton.
Last year, more than 310 people participated in the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout, raising $275,000 wghich be used to support the Society's work in local communities across the state, providing food, clothing, temporary accommodation, and assistance with bills to individuals experiencing hardship.
Currently, more than 122,000 people in Australia go to bed each night without a safe and secure place to live. NSW accounts for the largest state nationally with over 35,000 people experiencing homelessness.
The current waitlist for social housing in NSW is approximately 57,000 applicants – or the equivalent of 125,000 people – many of whom have been waiting for up to ten years for a home. In Western Sydney, 16,209 applicants are listed for social housing, including 1,169 classified for priority housing.
NSW Vinnies Community Sleepouts will be held in Albury, Armidale, Tweed Heads, Wagga Wagga and Western Sydney on Friday,  August 25.
People can register to take part and donate at www.vinnies.org.au/communitysleepout


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.