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Inside the CEO Sleepout - what really happens on the night

Preparing for my night out in the cold

It's nearly time to leave and I'm at work. I've got to get dressed now to prepare for the cold. But it occurs to me, as I'm pulling on my very expensive ski gear, that this is not how most homeless people prepare for a night on the streets.

So let's just get this out up-front: let there be no misunderstanding that I actually think my one night out in the cold is anything like a representation of what homeless people actually experience.

For starters, I have beautiful warm clothes on. Clothes that can stand sub-temperature climates in ski season. Clothes that protect every part of my body from the cold. Clothes that are waterproof (yes it looks like it's going to rain, argh!).

Secondly, I will not spend the night concerned about my safety. I'm lying with a bunch of CEOs, in a safe environment, monitored by many. I will also have a locker so even if I was concerned about my money or phone or belongings, they're all locked up.

Finally, I do not have the ongoing worry or anxiety about where I'm going to find food when I wake up. Or where I'm going to sleep tomorrow night. Or even where I'm going to have a shower in the morning. I know where I'm going - straight home to my lovely apartment to have a hot shower and a cuddle with my cats before heading to my amazing job and eating food that I can purchase.

So please understand, I'm under no illusion that I'm actually experiencing homelessness.

So what am I hoping to get out of this?

For starters, it's already made me realise how much I rely on and appreciate the basics: a hot shower in the morning, a cup of coffee, a place to leave my stuff, the ability to have pets, a warm bed, PJ's...all of those things that we take for granted.

Secondly, it has truly made me realise that the only fix for homelessness is housing. We can (and should) provide the band-aids, like Street Swags and winter jackets and soup vans etc. But these hand-outs are not a solution and we must work with and support our housing organisations who are relentlessly lobbying Government to get more funding in this area.

The only fix for homelessness is homes. It's simple.

Stay tuned for my next post as I'm going to blog about what actually happens inside the CEO Sleepout


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