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124 less homeless thanks to volunteers willing to rough it

Media Release - Lifewise

June 18th 2013

One hundred and twenty four homeless individuals now have a permanent home thanks to those willing to rough it for one night

Since the inception of the Lifewise Big Sleepout in October 2010 business and community leaders, and their supporters, have made a profound impact on the Auckland homeless community. As a direct consequence of the funds raised through this event Lifewise has been able to house over 124 homeless individuals in permanent accommodation. Most have moved straight from the street into their new home and over 80% of these remain housed today.

This is just some of what Lifewise has been able to achieve to tackle homelessness in this city thanks to the community support generated through this annual event.

The 2013 Lifewise Big Sleepout takes place on July 4 and a large group of business and community leaders have already committed to sleeping outside on cold concrete in the middle of winter. All with the purpose of shining a spotlight on the issue of homelessness and raising serious funds to tackle homelessness in Auckland.

Those already signed up to take part in the fourth Lifewise Big Sleepout include a large number of first time participants including Andrew Thorburn CEO of BNZ, Kiri Barfoot from Barfoot & Thomson and mayoral candidate John Palino. They will join returning participants such as Sir Bob Harvey, Chair of the Telecom Foundation, Tony Falkenstein, entrepreneur and philanthropist and Derek McCormack, the Vice Chancellor of AUT University.

John McCarthy, general manager of Lifewise, says “While there are people who are taking part for the fourth time, each and every participant inspires the team at Lifewise. Their involvement shows they care about the social well-being of this city, in particular how this city responds to the needs of those who are homeless. And behind each of these names is an organisation and staff inspired by their boss’ leadership on this issue.”

But the Lifewise Big Sleepout is much more than fundraising event. “Lifewise is making significant progress to ending homelessness in Auckland but it’s a complex issue requiring action at many levels. We know that old approaches don’t cut it. Lifewise has changed its approach but we need to find innovative solutions to other pieces of the puzzle and this is partly what the Big Sleepout aims to do this year. Where could we find such strategic thinking than at this event, on the night?”

“Those taking part are already working hard raising funds from colleagues, friends and family. Thanks to their commitment it looks as though this year is going to be another highly successful event”, concludes John.

This year’s Lifewise Big Sleepout takes place on July 4. Details of all the participants currently registered can be found on the event website www.bigsleepout.org.nz.

END

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