Colleagues from across Canberra’s real estate sector are doing the profession proud as they rally to participate in, and raise money for, this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
The annual charity event invites chief executives, business owners and community and government leaders to participate in a night of sleeping rough to raise money for, and awareness of, the many Australians experiencing homelessness.
Christine Shaw of Blackshaw Manuka will be rolling out her sleeping bag for the second year running, after finding the experience rewarding last year.
“For me, it’s a natural progression to help out with an initiative like this,” she said. “I have been involved with Vinnies on a personal level for about 10 years, but this is my second year at the Sleepout.
“Last year, we heard from people who still didn’t have a roof over their head or who Vinnies’ services had helped on the ground and it was quite emotional.
“There is an element of the night where you know what you’re doing doesn’t come close, compared to those who are homeless or couch surfing. We know we are not experiencing what they suffer on a day-to-day basis not knowing where they are sleeping tonight, but we personally learn so much on the night.”
Last year alone, $9.3 million dollars was raised nationally from the event, helping Vinnies to continue to provide crisis accommodation, food, healthcare, counselling, education, employment and support to those in need.
Shaw said despite an extensive career in social policy prior to entering real estate, there was a lot for her to take away from the overnight event.
“There were a lot of us waking up at 5am saying it was the worst sleep of our lives, but it’s a normal night for some people and they would probably say we had a level of comfort with a sleeping bag,” she said.
“You do wake up the next morning with a whole different framework.”
Shaw will be joined by fellow real estate colleagues including Natalie Shawcross of VERV Property and Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis.
Shawcross will also be taking part in the event for the second year running, after participating in the CEO Sleepout with her business partner last year.
“I think it was incredibly eye-opening that after the night we got to go home and have a hot shower before work, but how do you function when you don’t have that?” she said.
“It’s difficult to function in society when you don’t have enough rest or somewhere to shower and it’s a stark reality for some.”
Shawcross said it was for that reason she would continue to be involved in the CEO Sleepout, and with organisations like the St Vincent de Paul Society.
“They provide great support to the community and go to great lengths,” she said. “There were people who work with Vinnies answering questions last year and we learnt a lot about the services they provide to the wider community.”
Participants across the ACT have raised over $450,000 towards the cause this year. At the time of publication, participants across the capital raised more than $542,000.
The CEO Sleepout will take place on Thursday, June 23, from 6pm at the National Portrait Gallery.