GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA (27 May 2021) – Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific senior leaders will sleep rough to shed light on homelessness in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The annual event, which takes place on 17 June in Queensland, is held over one night on one of the longest and coldest nights of the year. Hundreds of CEOs, business owners and community and government leaders sleep outdoors to support the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness. 

Vinnies Queensland Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mercer said it was great to see the Wyndham Destinations team taking on the Vinnies CEO Sleepout challenge for 2021.

The current rental shortage across the Gold Coast has made working together to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness more important than ever and it’s wonderful to see leaders at Wyndham stepping up to do their part,” he said.

Research shows that by the end of the fiscal year 2021, housing stress on the Gold Coast will increase by an expected 32 per cent and homelessness by 13 per cent, requiring a massive investment in housing and support.

“COVID-19 has certainly been a factor in rising homelessness, leading many people from southern states to move up to the coast and put added pressure on an already competitive market. To help address these confronting statistics, Vinnies Queensland aims to raise $1.3 million through its Gold Coast, Brisbane and virtual CEO Sleepout events,” said Mr Mercer.

From Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific, Liz Collinson, Senior Vice President Legal and Compliance; Liam Crawley, Chief Financial Officer; Kieran McKenna, Senior Vice President Sales and Field Marketing; Bruce Harkness, Senior Vice President Human Resources, Customer Experience and Brand Communications; and Tanya Byrne, Executive Assistant to the President & Managing Director, will participate in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout on the Gold Coast.

“It’s heartbreaking that we have families and individuals living on the streets night after night, and almost incomprehensible during the cold nights of winter,” said Liz Collinson.

“I am proud of our team’s participation in this important campaign, which is aligned with our company’s core values of being socially responsible and supporting the communities in which we operate. We hope to do our part raising much needed funds and awareness to help alleviate homelessness experienced by Australian women, men and children,” she added.

The Gold Coast-based Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC) Foundation, has helped kick off the team’s fundraising campaign with a donation of $500. These funds will go a long way to providing emergency accommodation for families in crisis.

In 2020, Vinnies supported Queenslanders through more than 279,000 requests for assistance, providing housing and crisis accommodation for more than 181,000 nights, and supplying $3.7 million in food support for those experiencing financial stress.

On the Gold Coast, Vinnies Queensland is aiming to develop more housing this year to put a roof over the heads of people at risk of homelessness and will expand its support programs to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable locals.

Since 2016, funds raised through the Vinnies CEO Sleepout have helped people in need on the Gold Coast through a number of initiatives and developments, including the development of Rendu House at Arundel, the Hub in Southport, and the launch of Vinnies Queensland’s Cornerstone program – a service that transitions vulnerable Gold Coast locals from homelessness into immediate stable housing solutions.

Donations and registration to the event can be made online at ceosleepout.org.au

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