Hard night on the town

MAY 2010

WOTIF Limited (WTF) CEO Robbie Cooke will take to the street with a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard on June 17, as part of a St Vincent de Paul initiative to raise awareness about homelessness.

“We just don’t realise how many people are living it rough in our big cities. It’s one of those issues in society that gets hidden away, but this is our chance to do something about it,” he says.

“I believe there is really no reason that people in our society should be living without a roof over their heads. I think many of us lose sight of that greater issue.

“It’s hard when you’re busy to make a meaningful contribution. We all get wrapped up in our day-to-day, all consuming work, but this event is a great way to open up our eyes as to what’s going on outside.”

Other execs taking part in the CEO sleepout include Industrea’s Robin Levison, South Bank Corporation’s Malcolm Snow and Mirvac’s Matthew Wallace.

Other execs taking part in the CEO sleepout include Industrea’s Robin Levison, South Bank Corporation’s Malcolm Snow, Mirvac’s Matthew Wallace, Sedgman’s Mark Read, Dean Merlo and the directors of The Coffee Club.

St Vincent de Paul state manager for communications Ted Flack, says the Brisbane event aims to raise around $250,000 that will be used to provide homelessness services in three categories – prevention, emergency housing and transitional housing.

“The society depends on the public for about a third of its funding and we have to raise in the order of $8.5 million a year to provide our services, so the CEO sleepout raises a part of that,” he says.

“There are several open doors from this event with 60 of Queensland’s top CEOs thinking about homelessness, with opportunities for those companies to get involved in a variety of ways.

“It’s very difficult to know how many homeless people there are in Brisbane, but there’s about 400 in the CBD looking for accommodation every night and there’s usually only room for about 100 of them, and it’s a transient population as well.”

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