More than 200 homeless people are sleeping rough every night in Armidale.
To raise money and awareness in the problem, the St Vincent de Paul Society is holding their inaugural Vinnies Community Sleepout at the Armidale Town Hall on September 3.
Armidale diocese youth officer Michael O’Kane said the whole objective was to raise awareness for the plight of the homeless.
“The idea behind the sleepout is to encourage people to come and sleep rough to be able to empathise and relate to how homeless people live on a daily basis,” he said.
All of the money raised will go directly to helping homeless people in Armidale.
The event has a fundraising target of $10,000 and has already raised more than $5000.
There are a number of welfare services in Armidale who directly support the homeless.
St Vincent de Paul has a care and support section attached to every shop, where people can seek for assistance with rental payments, food and clothing.
Mr O’Kane said the night would also be a chance to run workshops and hear from people who have a personal experience with homelessness.
Armidale Central Diocese Council chief executive Sam Austrin-Miner said If we looked at our local towns more carefully, we would see that homelessness is very real problem.
“This is why we want to run our very own sleep-out,” he said.
“To raise awareness of local homelessness issues, as well as raise funds to help support those that are homeless themselves.”
The event is open to ages five through to 75 and organisers are aiming to have 100 people attend.
A simple dinner of rice will be offered with tea, coffee and hot chocolate available throughout the night.
Participants will need to supply their own sleeping bags for the event and will be given a piece of cardboard to sleep on.
Anyone interested in participating needs to register with St Vincent de Paul in Armidale with the event to start from 6pm.
“We hope to get people thinking about what they can do to help,” Mr O’Kane said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.