Shashi Hodge, our CEO of RTO Advice Group took part in the 2017 Vinnies CEO Sleepout where, for one night she helped raise funds to increase awareness for people experiencing homelessness.

In Victoria alone, over 725,000 people are living below the poverty line. Shashi took part in the Vinnies CEO sleepout to help raise awareness for homelessness in Australia and to bring awareness to the great work St Vincent’s De Paul do in this area. 2017 was her first year taking part in such a great initiative to help raise money and awareness to get more people into housing and more people supporting the Vinnie’s Soup Programs.

“As a parent to a young boy and knowing that roughly 13% of the homeless are under 12, I have a lot of concern for the kids who are on the street with no roof over their heads. In Australia, which is often considered the lucky country, it’s easy to think that homelessness is not a common problem however with over 100,000 people with nowhere to go each night, this is still very much an issue we need to work on and reduce.”

How much did she raise? 

Shashi raised almost $1500 and this amount raised is largely due to the individual contributions made by many on the team. RTO Advice Group is so proud to have raised this amount as this money goes directly to people in need, when they need it most.

Shashi’s sleepout journal

The night was not as rough as I thought, not to say it was anything like what people who are homeless face every night. I got about 3 hours sleep but it wasn’t that cold as we were in an underground carpark which was quite well protected. Sleeping on concrete is not so fun, so I thought a lot about the people who have to deal with this every day – I don’t know how they get through. At least I got to leave at 5.30, go have a shower and go for a delicious breakfast. Thanks to those who came out for breakfast afterwards as well.

Some key takeaways from the night for me:

Before you judge someone on the streets, think about how they could have got there. No-one chooses to be homeless.

  • Many have become homeless because they:
  • Are escaping family violence and have nowhere to go in order to protect themselves or their children
  • Experienced trauma, which could have been lifelong, often since childhood and they have ended up in a vicious cycle
  • Have turned to drugs or alcohol as an outcome of significant trauma.

The biggest challenge that is often reported by a person who is homeless is often the isolation. They often feel embarrassed and ashamed and find it extremely hard to ask even their closest family and friends for help when they need it, if they even have people to turn to.

(There are many CEOs who snore apparently, I was one of the last ones awake while everyone snored around me, so clearly, I’m a princess that doesn’t like snoring or concrete!) 

Would you nominate your CEO next year? Read more here.