Mass sleepout aims to tackle homelessness

Gabba to host a World's Biggest Sleepout event in December 2019


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World's Biggest Sleepout in Scotland in 2017. Image from the World Biggest Sleepout website.

World's Biggest Sleepout in Scotland in 2017. Image from the World Biggest Sleepout website.

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Queenslanders will have the chance to sleep under the stars on December 7 as part of The World's Big Sleep Out.

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Queensland's famous Gabba is set to transform into Brisbane's biggest bedroom - all for a worthy cause.

While traditionally reserved for sporting legends and music royalty, the Gabba will play host to two thousand Queenslanders who will have the chance to sleep under the stars on December 7 as part of The World's Big Sleep Out.

The event raises awareness of and funds to combat homelessness.

Around 50,000 people are expected to take part in cities around the world, with the hope of raising $50 million for homelessness prevention and management.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said The Gabba has signed on as Australia's first venue to support this new event as part of a global effort to fight homelessness.

"The Gabba joins the likes of New York's Times Square and London's Trafalgar Square in offering this unique experience," Mr de Brenni said.

"As a state, we are known for our generosity and this event allows us to raise vital funds and, hopefully, gain a better understanding of what thousands experience every night.

"Homelessness can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason, which is why the World's Big Sleep Out is open to anyone from any background.

"The World's Big Sleep Out can help us make a real difference to so many doing it tough."

Stephen Tait, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland CEO and one of the event's founding committee members, said the WBSO was a great way for everyone in the community to play their part.

"This initiative helps people at home and overseas who do not have access to safe and secure accommodation, Mr Tait said.

"Half of all funds raised will go to Mercy Community to support homelessness in Brisbane, with the other half going to United Nations to help people displaced globally through war, natural disasters, or extreme poverty.

"The ability to access safe and secure accommodation should be a right for everyone in society, and this event is about making that happen, by raising funds and education.

"Full details will be announced next month, but as Australia's only World's Big Sleep Out event, we're keen to make this a uniquely Queensland event.

"We want to give participants the chance to sleep at an iconic venue and enjoy appearances from home-grown talent."

CEO of Mercy Community Services Fritha Radyk said the organisation was committed to supporting every level of the community.

"Mercy is directly involved in providing care, support and educational services for people at risk, including those escaping situations of domestic violence, children in the foster care system, people with complex needs, and people seeking asylum," Ms Radyk said.

"Funds raised through the World's Big Sleep Out will provide essential funds for Mercy Community to continue programs like our live-in home mothers program and individual and family support services."

Many older Australians experience homelessness and people over 55 are also over represented among those living in temporary and insecure housing.

There is a chronic shortage of age-appropriate and affordable housing for older people, and this problem is likely to grow worse with an ageing population placing increasing pressure on the aged care system and community services generally.

To register your interest visit: www.bigsleepout.com/join-a-sleep-out/brisbane

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