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Ending the cycle of homelessness

27-05-2021 Category: General Posted by: emily.roberts

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Image: Justine Summers (Chief Operations Officer), Ron Charlton (Chief Financial Officer) and Megan Callinan (Chief Executive Officer)

More than 116,000 Australians don’t have a safe or secure place to live – this includes an increasing number of young people and older women; with domestic violence the leading cause of homelessness.

In an effort to raise awareness of this often misunderstood and hidden issue, Megan Callinan, Marathon Health’s CEO, Justine Summers, Chief Operations Officer, and Ron Charlton, Chief Financial Officer, are participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. 

“We wanted to do something really visible to show our support and raise money for people experiencing homelessness. That’s why we decided to participate in the CEO Sleepout – we’ll experience first-hand what is unfortunately a way of life for too many people,” Ms Callinan said.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a one-night event over one of the longest and coldest nights of the year – June 17. Hundreds of CEOs, business owners, as well as community and government leaders sleep outdoors to support the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness.

The not-for-profit’s senior executive team were inspired to do their part to raise money after speaking with front line staff who support people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness.

Shana Turner, Team Lead – Psychosocial, said we aren’t as aware of this issue because the majority of homelessness is known as the ‘hidden homeless’, that is the people who are couch surfing, staying in temporary accommodation, over-crowded dwellings, cars and so on.

“Homelessness is a critical issue for the communities we work in. We see how difficult it is for clients who don’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight. People we support are in this position due to a range of reasons such as crisis, difficulties navigating services, mental health concerns, domestic violence and unemployment,” Ms Turner said.  

The key demographics most at risk of homelessness are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, children and young people, and older women.

“Our senior executive team have committed to raising $15,000 for Vinnies to provide crisis accommodation, food, healthcare, counselling, education, employment and support finding a permanent home. We’re inviting people to help us raise this money, and follow their journey as they sleepout in Newcastle, via our social media pages,” Ms Turner said.

The CEO Sleepout will take place on Thursday 17 June, participants will hear from experts, people with lived experience and people who work in the field. To support the Marathon Health team reach their target of $15,000, visit the CEO Sleepout website.

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