Willetton Parish CEO Sleepout team raises more than $50K for the homeless

30 Jun 2022

By The Record

Willetton Parish Sleepout team
Willetton Parish CEO Sleepout team Howard Ong, Fr CJ Millen, Louis Pang, Fr Thai Vu, Ken Patterson and Byron Maverick raised more than $50K for the annual event that aims to raise awareness about homelessness. Photo: SVDP WA/Flicker.

Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

That’s why the St Vincent de Paul Society is raising money to provide people experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness with vital access to food and accommodation.

Last Thursday leaders in business, community and government slept without shelter on one of the longest nights of the year to help change the lives of Australians experiencing homelessness. The event is known as the annual CEO Sleepout.

This year, Willetton priests Frs Thai Vu and CJ Millen, participated in the event – the only Catholic parish to do so – raising more than $50,000 as a parish team.

Other members of the Willetton Parish team included Louis Pang, Howard Ong, Ken Patterson and Byron Maverick.

Describing his experience to The Record, Fr CJ said the experience was life changing.

“I felt motivated to participate after being stationed in the city for some time and seeing the increasing number of people experiencing homelessness.

“Participating in the CEO Sleepout was a way to provide awareness about what can be done, such as referring those experiencing homelessness to SVDP programs like Passages.

Willetton Parish SVDP CEO Sleepout team members Louis Pang and Howard Ong. Photo: SVDP WA/Flicker.

Fr CJ explained that on the night, no luxuries were allowed except a sleeping bag, a mat and water.

“It got a lot of people (in the parish) talking about the issue which was what we wanted,” Fr CJ said.

“We also had the opportunity to hear from people who have previously experienced homelessness which was a real eye-opener,” he said.

Participants of the national event have so far raised more than $9.4 million.

Vinnies is Western Australia’s largest provider of emergency assistance and support. Every year, Vinnies assists more than 55,000 West Australians by providing emergency relief such as food, furniture, clothing as well as help with bills and rent.

Vinnies also runs a range of specialised services and programs in the areas housing and homelessness, mental health, migrants and refugees, youth services, financial counselling.

To donate and help make a positive difference in these people’s lives, visit www.vinnieswa.org.au or call 13 18 12.