Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell will swap a comfortable mattress for a piece of cardboard to gain a firsthand experience of “sleeping rough” next week.
Mrs Britnell will participate in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout on June 23, helping to raise money to provide critical assistance to people experiencing homelessness, with the aim of breaking the cycle of homelessness permanently.
After many years working in the health and welfare sector, Mrs Britnell said she knows firsthand the complexities of the issues that families and individuals encounter, such as mental illness, family violence, drug and alcohol dependence that can result in homelessness.
“I don’t have the answers, but I am committed to working to find solutions,” she said.
“I’ve spoken with agencies across the region who say it’s a growing problem; The last census indicated a high percentage of secondary homelessness in Warrnambool,
“It’s a hidden homelessness; people couch surfing and staying with friends.
“Looking after and supporting vulnerable people is something I’m very passionate about, that’s why I put my hand up to take part in this.
“It’s a small gesture but I’m hoping it will help raise awareness about what is happening in our own backyard.”
The Vinnies CEO Sleepout began in Sydney in 2006, and has quickly grown with events held in seven Australian cities and regional events added.
People wishing to make a donation can do so by visiting www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/vic-ceos/roma-britnell/.