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Industry leaders take part in Vinnies CEO Sleepout

Several members from the mortgage and finance industry slept outside on the winter solstice to raise funds for homelessness charity Vinnies.

The St Vincent de Paul Society held the 2023 Vinnies CEO Sleepout last night (22 June), with several chief executives and business leaders from the mortgage and finance industry sleeping outdoors to help the charity raise $800,000 to support the delivery of its specialist homelessness services.

The CEO Sleepout is a one-night event held on one of the longest and coldest nights of the year to raise funds and awareness for the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness.

According to Vinnies, more than 122,000 people experience homelessness in Australia every night.

Last year, 1,471 individuals took part in the event across eight states and territories, either at a live event or via a live stream. They raised over $9.6 million.

This year, 1,489 individuals took part — including over a hundred participants at the National Museum of Australia — and had raised $7.4 million before the sleep-out had taken place.

Mortgage and finance industry members

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Several members of the mortgage industry took part again this year, with many bunking down outside the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Rozelle.

The Lendi Group team saw several executives sleep outdoors, including co-founders David Hyman (group CEO) and Sebastien Watkins (chief operating officer), Brad Cramb (CEO distribution), and Aussie Marion franchisee Joshua Kent. Collectively, the Lendi Group team raised more than $18,000*.

Finance broker and Simplicity Loans & Advisory director Jean-Pierre Gortan raised more than $45,000* for Vinnies in his sleep-out, the most he has raised in the five years he has participated in the CEO Sleepout.

The Living Homes Loans Team (comprising Andrew Best, owner and director of growth and operations at Living Home Loans; Chris Slater, head of sales & distribution at Australian Finance Group (AFG); and Kieran Jefferies, senior finance broker at Olleh Lending) raised more than $22,000* for the charity.

Yanir Yakutiel, CEO at SME lender Lumi, also took part once again in the CEO Sleepout this year (his fifth year in a row), raising more than $10,000*.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, Mr Yakutiel said: “I think it’s a great initiative to bring together business leaders who can both raise money directly, but perhaps more importantly, raise awareness at their respective organisations.

“Personally, I find it hard to reconcile how we are willing to accept that in a country so bountiful and expansive as Australia, over 120,000 people don’t have a place to call home. It’s a moral blemish and I hope that I can make a difference, however small.

“While I think that any fundraising is important and there are so many worthy causes, it’s really imperative to try and personally experience [the] hardship that one is trying to remedy. It’s only after experiencing it firsthand, did I truly realise how dehumanising homelessness really is.”

Mr Yakutiel said he was “very fortunate to have a very supportive network” that has supported him in the sleep-out each year and help him reach his $10,000 target this year.

Teams of bankers also slept outside, including those from Westpac in the Gold Coast and ANZ Victoria (with ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott reportedly donating $1,520 to the team).

*accurate at the time of writing.

[Related: Labor announces $2bn social housing investment]

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