CEOs sleeping out for the homeless

Rise chief executive Justine Colyer will take part in the Vinnies CEO sleepout.
Rise chief executive Justine Colyer will take part in the Vinnies CEO sleepout.

RISE chief Justine Colyer will be among the many CEOs sleeping out in the cold on Thursday, highlighting the plight of homeless people.

The head of the not-for-profit community support network in Middle Swan has taken part in the Vinnies CEO sleepout since it started about six years ago.

“It’s an amazing cause that has just exploded in popularity,” Ms Colyer said.

Over the years, Ms Colyer has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the cause, again setting herself a target of $5000 this year.

“The sleepout takes place at the WACA and after the first year, I learnt not to sleep in the tunnel.

“I thought I’d stay dry from any rain, but then heard a rat on the move, although it was probably only a mouse,” Ms Colyer said.

Her partner, Access Housing chief executive Garry Ellender, will join her for his third sleepout.

“I think we are the only couple who participate.”

Ms Colyer said no-one gets any sleep on the night, but there are no complaints knowing thousands of people sleep rough every night.

The night starts with a talk by several people who have experienced life on the streets.

Anglicare WA released a report last month that found one in four West Australians had been touched by homelessness, and one in 10 had experienced it themselves at some point.

The report also showed support for more public housing.

In WA, the leading cause of homelessness is family breakdown and domestic violence, representing 34 per cent of the 10,000 people experiencing homelessness in WA.

St Vincent de Paul Society WA chief executive Mark Fitzpatrick said the issue of female homelessness was linked to a lack of social and affordable housing when women flee violence.