LORD Mayor Graham Quirk’s first orders as the returning leader for Brisbane city included a call for all bosses to sleep under the Story Bridge in June.
Mr Quirk will “fight homelessness in his sleep” under the iconic bridge for the St Vincent de Paul Society’s annual homelessness fundraiser, CEO Sleepout, on June 23.
The newly sworn-in Lord Mayor invited other business, political and community leaders to claim a spot under the stars at an official CEO Sleepout launch last week.
More than 200 are expected to sleep under the Story Bridge, including chief executive officer of ERM Power Jon Stretch, who is the event’s highest fundraiser at $11,000.
The first Sleepout was held in Parramatta, Sydney, in 2006 and has since raised more than $24 million to fund the St Vincent de Paul Society’s homelessness services.
CEO Sleepout Brisbane organisers planned to raise $1 million at their event at Captain Bourke Park to help homeless Queenslanders.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are more than 105,000 homeless people in Australia.
Young adults aged between 25 and 34 make up the highest percentage of Australians living on the streets, at 18 per cent.
More than 44,000 young people under 25 are also homeless.
Sydney priest Fr Chris Riley has championed for better awareness of youth homelessness as the founder of national charity Youth Off The Streets for 40 years.
Fr Riley said support was “vital” but early intervention was the key to lowering the number of homeless youth.
“Giving kids the best possible support through counselling, crisis and transitional housing and education is vital,” he said.
“But what is equally important is preventing homelessness in the first place.
“Intervening early is what will bring that number of homeless kids down.”
Vinnies Australia offers at-risk teenagers a mentoring program with young adult role models.
SENSE Youth Mentoring Program is a face-to-face, emotional intelligence and activity-based learning progam. It was selected as one of 12 charities for the 2016 Broncos Charity Partner Program.