Frequently Asked Questions

What happens on the night?

We will have a scheduled program on the big night, similar to previous years – however this year the program will be entirely online, in the form of a live-stream hosted by Dr. Andrew Rochford. Through on-screen discussions, videos, and live crosses to Vinnies services, you will learn about homelessness in Australia, the work Vinnies does and the important role that business and community can play in reducing homelessness. You will also hear first-hand from people who have experienced homelessness. There will be ways for you to participate in the live stream, including posting on social media with the hashtag (we will display some of the tagged posts on the stream). The broadcast will include a short break for dinner and will finally wrap up around 9.30 pm AEST. Then it's time to settle in for your night in the car/in the backyard/on the couch.

What happens in the morning?

There are no scheduled activities on the morning of 19 June. We suggest you spend some time reflecting on what you learned and experienced overnight, and share your reflections with the donors and supporters of your Vinnies CEO Sleepout campaign. Don’t forget to ask for any last-minute donations as well.

Can I bring others along to sleep out with me?

Yes. This year, we are also inviting CEOs, business and community leaders to sleep out with their families – it’s a great opportunity to engage your kids in a conversation about what poverty and homelessness looks like in our country.

What should I bring/use/wear for my sleepout?

For the 2020 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, we will be calling on you to organise your own dinner and sleeping arrangements. We will provide suggestions for a simple dinner reflecting the options commonly available to people sleeping rough, such as soup and a roll, and we’ll ask you to bring these with you to your sleeping location. You can also bring a bottle of water, as well as a thermos (or similar) of hot water with instant coffee or tea.

We recommend wearing warm, comfortable, casual clothes. Bring a sleeping bag and perhaps a single pillow if you would like one, but avoid any creature comforts. Keep your phone, tablet and/or camera on you so you can document your sleepout experience and share it on social media.

You may wish to lay a piece of cardboard on the ground if you are sleeping in the backyard. If the family is joining your sleepout, you are welcome to pitch a tent to keep your little ones warm and dry.

What items shouldn’t I bring or use?

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a no-frills event. In keeping with the spirit of the event, please avoid airbeds, luxury bedding, hot water bottles, and other creature comforts. Alcohol is off-limits, as is extra food or snacks.

Can I sleep out in a public place?

We strongly recommend against participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout from a public place, and instead we recommend joining us from your own location such as your car, couch or backyard.

This is to protect your safety and also to respect the dignity and privacy of people who are genuinely sleeping rough.

How does Vinnies help people experiencing homelessness?

Vinnies provides a huge range of holistic services to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so each region and service tailors its support to best suit the needs of the location and the individuals assisted. Each year, the millions of dollars raised through the Vinnies CEO Sleepout help us to provide crisis accommodation, food, healthcare, counselling, education, employment, and support to find a permanent home for people throughout the country, all year round.

To find out more about our services to respond to or prevent homelessness in your area, we recommend checking out the 2018/19 annual report for your state/territory:  http://bit.ly/vinniespublications

What happens to the funds raised through the Vinnies CEO Sleepout?

Funds raised through the Vinnies CEO Sleepout provide a huge range of holistic services to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so each region and service tailors its support to best suit the needs of the location and the individuals assisted. Each year, the millions of dollars raised through this one fundraising event help us to provide crisis accommodation, food, healthcare, counselling, education, employment, and support to find a permanent home for people throughout the country, all year round.

You can find out more on our website: https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/where-your-money-goes

How has COVID-19 impacted the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society and does this place extra importance on fundraising through this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout?

Most of Vinnies’ services for people experiencing homelessness, poverty and hardship have remained running throughout the COVID-19 crisis, thanks to the dedication of our people and supporters. We have had to adapt quickly and develop creative responses to the challenges of social distancing, increasingly relying on digital and over-the-phone methods of providing assistance.

In many regions, we’ve seen an increase in people coming to us for help, yet at the same time our income has plummeted. The necessity of temporarily closing our Vinnies Shops, and the need to cancel and modify some fundraising events, has had a serious effect on our ability to bring in funds.

With more people out of work and struggling with costs, the need for our help is rising every day. This is why the fundraising efforts of our Vinnies CEO Sleepout participants are more valuable than ever.

What is significant about the car, backyard, or couch as sleepout locations that participants are able to choose from?

The options available to Vinnies CEO Sleepout participants this year represent common forms of homelessness experienced by many thousands of people in Australia. In past years, we have used the visibility of ‘rough sleeping’ on the streets as a conversation-starter to bring the larger issue of homelessness to light.

This year, we want to highlight that many people experiencing homelessness are actually sleeping indoors, but nonetheless in unstable, unsuitable and often dangerous conditions. For many people, homelessness is sleeping in a car, and an estimated 15% of Australia’s 116,000 people experiencing homelessness are ‘couch-surfing’ in the homes of family, friends and acquaintances.

Apart from giving money, what can I do to help people facing homelessness?

The people we assist often tell us how lonely and isolating the experience of homelessness can be. For someone sleeping rough, a simple conversation can go a long way when so many people walk past without even acknowledging them. You might like to find out what the person likes to eat or drink, and offer to purchase their breakfast/lunch/dinner or a snack. If they have a loyal companion, you could buy a couple of tins of dog food.

If you have some time on your hands and a hunger to help, Vinnies welcomes volunteers to help out with our homelessness services in many regions. Visit www.vinnies.org.au/volunteer to find opportunities near you. Or if you are a registered Vinnies CEO Sleepout participant, sign up for some Vinnies Hours as a unique volunteering experience.

What are Vinnies Hours, how does the program work, and what is the purpose behind the initiative?

We understand that even executives are feeling the financial impact of coronavirus. As well as raising funds, in 2020 we are giving you and your donors/campaign supporters the opportunity to pledge ‘Vinnies Hours’ by volunteering with us. At a time when more people are coming to charities for help due to COVID-19, it’s a great way to devote your time and skills to help those in need – particularly if your ability to donate money is limited this time around.

There will be various options for donating your ‘Vinnies Hours’, from spreading the word on social media, to doing a shift in a Vinnies Shop, to helping us to deliver food to people sleeping rough through our Vinnies Vans. The options will vary in each region according to local services and need. Please log into your online portal to review what’s available.

Please note that some volunteering opportunities may require a police check and working with children check.

Will the Vinnies Community Sleepout events be happening this year? Can I join the Vinnies CEO Sleepout if I’m not a business leader?

We are planning to hold the Vinnies Community Sleepout in several locations across the country in late October, coronavirus restrictions permitting - we’ll have more details on that very soon. This will be the opportunity for anyone and everyone to learn more about homelessness in their local area and contribute to keeping local services up and running, and we can’t wait to see you there! In the meantime, we kindly ask that people only register for the online Vinnies CEO Sleepout if they are business or community leaders.