HILLS WINTER SLEEPOUT

Mici Beer (HCA), Mayor Michelle Byrne and Chair Bill Tyrrell
Mici Beer (HCA), Mayor Michelle Byrne and Chair Bill Tyrrell

A young mum and her son at risk of losing their home were just two of the people helped by money raised at last year’s Hills Winter Sleepout.

Mici Beer from Hills Community Aid said the organisation had been stepping in to stop people at risk of homelessness when unexpected emergencies crept up.

She said the mum had escaped a domestic violence situation and had paid her own bond and rent to secure a new home when her car broke down and needed $1000-worth of repairs, using up all her savings.

“A couple of other unexpected costs due to the move caused her to become behind in rent and she was extremely concerned about losing the home and having to move which would cause more stress to her son who was already dealing with a lot.

“We were able to pay two-week rent for the client which meant her son and her could remain safe in their new home.”

HCA was also able to pay two weeks rent for an elderly couple faced with mounting medical bills to avoid them becoming homeless.

This year’s Sleep Out will take place on Saturday August 17 at Bella Vista Farm.

Hills Shire Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne, Founder and organiser of The Hills Winter Sleepout said the main aim of the event was to raise awareness about homelessness in the Hills and its many forms and  to understand the causes.

“Factors such as domestic violence, financial hardship, substance abuse or mental illness can lead to homelessness in the Hills,” she said.

“The Sleep Out gives an insight into what it may be like to be homeless …participants trade in their warm bed for a night in the cold sleeping on a piece of cardboard.

“People go home grateful they have a roof over their head and food on their table because there are people who don’t have that.”

Last year’s Hills Winter Sleepout raised $60,000, the aim this year is to raise $100,000.

The first winter sleep out in 2014 attracted 80 business and community leaders this year’s event is set to attract more than 100.

Rouse Hill Town Centre, Ray White Real Estate, ResMed and the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News had already signed up.

Also signed up are students from Rouse Hill High and The Kings school.

Mici Beer said it was great having the schools involved and urged other schools to join in.

Student registration is $25 and includes dinner and breakfast.

For more information email thehillswintersleepout@gmail.com or to sign up and register go to https://the-hillswintersleepout.raisely.com.