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Victoria’s housing crisis: Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2024 calls for #TimeForChange

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria 3 mins read

The St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria (SVDPV), affectionately known as Vinnies, is bringing together leaders from across Victoria for its annual flagship fundraising event – the 2024 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, focused on raising awareness and funds to combat homelessness and poverty.


Taking place on Thursday 20 June 2024, at the Timber Yard in Port Melbourne, this year's event aims to raise $1.5 million to support Victorians in need.


At the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, senior executives and community leaders spend one of the coldest nights of the year sleeping out on a piece of cardboard. This commitment drives crucial fundraising for Vinnies' services supporting Australians facing homelessness and severe poverty. Since 2010, the Victorian campaign has raised $14 million, making a real difference.


Voices of experience and leadership


Leader Michele Hartz, first-time Vinnie CEO Sleepout participant with lived experience of homelessness, says: “When I was experiencing homelessness as a teenager, no one wanted to hear my voice. Today, I lend it to this cause because I have seen firsthand the transformative impact of the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria's work in their unique Ozanam House, a crisis accommodation and homelessness resource centre in Melbourne.”


Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald AM, Group CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria – and a fellow first-time Sleepout participant – adds: “Homelessness and insecure housing must not become normalised in our society. It is a fundamental human right to have a safe place to call home. Seeing people living on the streets, in cars, or unsafe accommodations is unacceptable. We are committed to changing this reality.”


2024 Theme: #TimeForChange


This year's theme, #TimeForChange, underscores the urgent need to address the growing housing crisis in Victoria. On Census night 2021, more than 30,000 Victorians were reported homeless – a 24% increase from 2016 – and the highest nationally. The Victorian social housing waitlist has surged to 67,000+ applications, with 37,000 classified as priority cases.


Despite significant investments by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, an estimated 60,000 new social housing properties are needed over the next decade. SVDPV, through VincentCare Community Housing (VCCH) and its local volunteer groups, is uniquely positioned to tackle this crisis. Homelessness can be a transient state and, with proper support, individuals can find stability and security.


St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria’s impact*


  • Volunteer-run contact centre handled 60,000+ calls for assistance.
  • Volunteers conducted more than 113,000 home visits.
  • Vinnies Soup Vans delivered 776,329 meals to people in need.
  • Crisis and accommodation centre Ozanam House provided accommodation to 390 residents and served 63,000 meals.
  • Housing provider VincentCare Community Housing is set to deliver 185 new social housing dwellings over the next two years, thanks to a government partnership.


Call to action


  • Donate: Every dollar raised goes directly to frontline support services. Donate to support our sleepers or the Victorian event at



Images of 2023 event and B-roll video of previous event:

Both Michele Hartz and Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald AM are available for interview.


*St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Impact Report 2022-2023


- End -

Key Facts:

Vinnies CEO Sleepout takes place on Thursday 20 June 2024, at the Timber Yard in Port Melbourne, aiming to raise $1,5 million to support Victorians in need and a focus on the growing number of Victorians facing homelessness

2024 Theme: #TimeForChange

200+ participants - CEOs, senior executives, business and community leaders

Interview opportunities with leader Michele Hartz, first time participants with lived experience and Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald AM, Group CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria

About us:

The St Vincent de Paul Society and its wide network of members and volunteers provide practical frontline support, advocacy and friendship for the most vulnerable members of our community. Key services include home visitation; Vinnies Shops; youth programs; soup vans; assistance for asylum seekers and refugees; education and tutoring; and professional accommodation and health services through VincentCare. The St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria has more than 11,000+ members and volunteers, and more than 60,000 across Australia. Internationally, the Society operates in 149 countries and more than 950,000 members. To find out more visit

Contact details:

Claudia Loeber-Raab | Media & Content Lead | | 0438 804 023 or

Jen Vuk | Communications Manager | | 0418 863 719

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