This year’s 2020 Hills Winter Sleepout raised over $31,000 for the Hills Homeless Initiative.

Mici Beer from Hills Community aid said that despite being run online it was an incredible event with a series of speakers giving an insight on how things were at street level.

“I am very thankful for the community we live and work in and the way everyone came together to support such an important fundraising event.,” she told the Hills to Hawkesbury News.

“As we heard on the night from our guest speakers Hawkesbury Helping Hands, Street Med, Older Women’s Network and Dinner on the Table, this has been a difficult year for a lot of people.

“For some people this is the first time they have had to ask for assistance and we are thankful to everyone for their donations so we can continue to assist people when they need it the most.

“All funds raised assist people at risk of homelessness or who are homeless through our Safer Communities worker and Financial Inclusion programs.

“The assistance of rent or bond payments coupled with our other Financial Inclusion programs to support people with food, medical and travel, provides people with the assistance they require when they most at need. “

Last financial year the service helped 81 adults and 79 children.

Mici Beer said she slept in her car until 3am and then moved indoors. “I moved to the lounge as I was cold and uncomfortable.

Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne had a night on her couch. “I slept on my couch, and even though I was out of the cold and in doors, the couch was very uncomfortable after a few hours. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to couch surf every night of the week and not to have my own place to call home.

“The Sleepout always reminds me how blessed most of us are to have our own bed, a roof over our heads and food on the table every night. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone in our community.”

“The highlight for me was seeing the community come together virtually to help raise awareness of homelessness and to support local community groups that work with the homeless and those of risk of becoming homeless.”

While most people viewed the event and participated online some people attended the Alive 90.5 Community Radio headquarters in Baulkham Hills where there was a live broadcast.

Chairman Gillian Schrickker said it was a rewarding experience.

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