CEOs sleep out for homeless

Melissa WilliamsCountryman

Agribusiness leaders braved a chilly 2C night out in the open last month to raise money for homeless people in Australia.

Mastergroup principal David Egerton Warburton and CBH chief executive Andy Crane joined the St Vincent de Paul Society's WA CEO Sleepout, which attracted 106 chief executives from a wide cross section of industries and raised about $817,000. Nationally the annual event raised more than $4.8 million.

Mr Egerton Warburton said after sleeping on cardboard boxes overnight on the damp grass of the WACA ground, he had a new appreciation for the plight of WA's estimated 14,000 homeless people, how easy it could be for some to fall into this trap and the devastating impact on affected families.

He said support for families in crisis and provision of education were the best ways to stop homelessness, which affected people in rural and regional districts as well as the metropolitan area.

"This is a State-wide problem and a lot of rural and regionally-based people are facing the same issues that lead to homelessness in the city," he said.

St Vincent de Paul does not have a specific budget for rural and regional spending, but allocates funds across WA on a needs-basis - usually identified through the society's 20 rural and regional conferences and parish-based members.

Society members offer assistance with food, utility bills, clothing, education and household expenses and aim to help people to stay in their homes when faced with financial hardship or a major crisis.

Prospect House in Albany, which opened in 2011, also provides accommodation and support for up to five men at a time with mental illnesses or who are experiencing homelessness.

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