Winter Sleep Out

Last Friday night, 28 students from Year 7 to Year 12 participated in the annual St Vinnies Winter Sleep Out at Mannix Campus.

The Winter Sleep Out gives students a glimpse into the realities of homelessness by ‘sleeping rough’ for a night to raise awareness. This experience challenged the boys’ sense of homelessness and offered a unique insight into the complex issues faced by people experiencing homelessness.

Pete Burns, a former businessman who ended up living on the streets after the global financial crisis, shared his story of how his life changed dramatically and how he began to work towards getting off the streets and finding his ‘safe base’. A young member of St Vinnies, Alanna, came out and spoke with the boys about her personal engagement with St Vincent De Paul, and shared the history of the organisation and how young people in society can get involved.

Throughout the night the boys rotated through a range of activities, each giving them different skills and knowledge to build upon their understanding of how they can get involved, including;

  • Building a shelter using objects found around the home,
  • Packing a backpack for a homeless man to give to Ozanam House,
  • Knitting a square for Knit One Give One and
  • Raising awareness of what it is like to live on the street through watching the SBS series ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless.’

The boys conducted themselves in a mature manner, and walked away with a better understanding of what life is like on the street, and the fact that it can happen to anyone in society.

More than 105,000 Australians are homeless. Over 17,000 kids under the age of 12 have no home.

Homelessness is not just about sleeping rough… 39% of people live in overcrowded dwellings, 20% stay in supported accommodation for the homeless and 17% ‘couch surf. ’