The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a one-night event that sees hundreds of business owners, CEOs and other community and government leaders spend one of the longest and coldest nights of the year sleeping outside.
The event aims to raise awareness of the many Australians who are currently faced with homelessness and raise funds to allow St Vincent De Paul to continue providing essential services to people in need.
About to take on her fifth CEO Sleepout, Niamh Marzol become passionate about helping those less fortunate after seeing the great number of homeless during her overseas travels.
“We are an affluent country with wealth and resources to share - we should not have homeless let alone a rise in homelessness,” said Niamh.
“I am in a position to raise awareness within the whole school community and funds so I feel morally obligated to do this.
“This year we are also having a school sleepout with a few brave Mini Vinnies students and teachers.”
Taking their own sleeping bag, participants are only provided with two sheets of cardboard and a simple cup of soup along with tea, water and coffee.
“While the nights tend to be quite cold, smelly and uncomfortable, they are safe, which is in contrast to the many homeless who spend their nights in fear of being robbed or attacked.
“The Sleepout is a great experience as we learn about the work of St Vincent de Paul and the Matthew Tallbot House, as well as meet people who have had their lives changed through the work of the St Vincent de Paul.”
Through her continual support of the cause, Niamh has come to learn that homelessness can affect anyone of any age for any number of reasons.
“Homelessness is changing to include a wider demographic of women and children and elderly. The reasons are very varied and it is across all landscapes.
“People’s vulnerabilities need to be addressed and responded to before they become homeless.
“Drugs and gambling are not as big a contributor as one might think but these are still very real afflictions than can cause major disruption to the lives of individuals and families.
“Affordable housing is a major part of the solution, as well as mental health and financial planning assistance.”
To make a donation and support Niamh and the thousands of Australians currently experiencing homelessness visit https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/niamh-marzol/newcastle.