BRISBANE business leaders are bracing for a cold night ahead of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2016.
About 150 corporate, government and community leaders will set up camp underneath the Story Bridge tonight to raise awareness and funds for homelessness.
Queensland has the third highest homeless population in Australia at 19,838, with 57 per cent under the age of 35 and 27 per cent just children.
Across the country, 41,000 Australians live in severely overcrowded dwellings and 6000 sleep in cars, improvised shelters or tents.
St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland CEO Peter Maher says the event recreates the harsh reality of what it's like to have no place to call home.
"Out in the cold, winter weather, participants will experience first-hand just a fragment of what it can be like to be homeless," Maher says.
"Those without a place to call home typically do not have access to adequate clothing, blankets or shelters.
"We are calling on business leaders to rise to the challenge and fight homelessness while they sleep, raising funds to help Vinnies provide immediate relief to people in crisis and to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
"Domestic violence is a big contributing factor, with 23 per cent of homeless people in Queensland victims of domestic violence."
Almost $600,000 has been raised in Brisbane so far, which will be used to build a domestic violence housing solution in North Brisbane.
Fonebox Group of Companies CEO and Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Award finalist Jordan Grives (pictured) has become the first millennial to take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout with a target to raise $50,000.
"Being homeless isn't always a choice, we don't know the stories of the people living on our streets," Grives says.
"I couldn't pass up another night of rough sleep, knowing that it would benefit someone a night off the street."
Other participants include Rowland chairman Geoff Rodgers, ERM Power managing director Jon Stretch, Merlo Coffee CEO James Wilkinson and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.
Last year, Queensland leaders raised more than $871,000 helping Vinnies to provide assistance to 296,000 people.
For more information or to donate, click here.
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