The Hills Winter Sleepout

Story and photo by Bev Jordan

Last year 100 braved the Hills Winter Sleepout, it is hoped more will attend the night at Bella Vista Farm on August 18 this year.

The aim of the event, now in its the fifth year, is to raise awareness of homelessness in the Hills in its many forms and raise money to help.

Hills Mayor Michelle Byrne said she started the sleepout with Hills businessman Jim Taggart to raise awareness that homelessness does happen in the Hills.

“There are vulnerable people in the Hills who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness in the Hills often as a result of severe financial crisis, relationship breakdowns and domestic violence. “

The funds from this year’s event will be going to Hills Community Aid which last year received $30,000.

The money has been used by the Hills Homeless Prevention Initiative to help five families avoid being homeless and secure rental accommodation or retain rental property when their circumstances changed beyond their control.

In one case it was a mum and her five children.

Dr Byrne said: “It is important that we help those most vulnerable in our community and look after them. “

She is hoping that if people don’t want to do the sleep out that they will either sponsor someone who is or visit the event and lend their support.

There will be a colourful array of beanies, scarves and blankets donated by knitters throughout the Hills for “hire” on the night. After the sleepout they will be given to organisations delivering services to the homeless.

Mici Beer from HCA said the aim of the hills homeless prevention initiative is to reduce the risk of people becoming homeless.

“It’s about helping people when they are at their most vulnerable due to changing circumstances.”

Food will be available on the night with a BBQ by Norwest Sunrise Rotary Club and money raised with hot drinks from the Hills Daily Grind will also be donated.

To find out more visit www.hillswintersleepout.com.au