Over 140 of the country’s top business and community leaders and entrepreneurs have registered to take part in Lifewise’s Big Sleepout on one of the coldest nights of the year – Thursday 20th June 2019. And it’s not too late to take part, and help raise funds that will contribute to Lifewise’s focus on wider preventative work and how to break the cycles that so often lead to homelessness.

According to Lifewise Chief Executive Moira Lawler breaking cycles is a vital conversation if New Zealand is to cope with a growing number of people experiencing homelessness.

“We’re moving in the right direction, however, for most people, a home is only the first step in their journey,” says Lifewise Chief Executive Moira Lawler.

“Being able to support tenants with wrap around services, driven by them, supports them to sustain their tenancies, address health needs, and reestablish their lives.”

The Big Sleepout is being held at Eden Park for the first time and will see participants stripped of their creature comforts and left to battle the elements to spend the night sleeping on a piece of cardboard. Their commitment is rewarded by donations from family, friends, colleagues and the public. Every dollar raised goes towards Lifewise’s work for ending homelessness.

Among this year’s participants is Renee Coutler whose restaurant Coco Cantina has been part of the K Road community for 10 years.

“I’m doing the Big Sleepout because I don’t want to accept homelessness. I don’t want homelessness to be something we learn to live with. Homelessness should always be a shock. It’s a shock because it’s a solvable problem,” says Coulter.

Also taking part for the first time is Tayyaba Khan – Relationship Manager Investment, at the Tertiary Education Commission.

“As a New Zealander I have always been most proud of our ability to be progressive on many fronts in comparison to other parts of the world. It’s why I truly believe we can find the solution and an all-encompassing holistic path to addressing the concerns of rough sleepers.

“One way of doing this is by supporting organisations like Lifewise to creatively carve the path to finding solutions. I am also keen to put myself in the shoes of others to somewhat understand and find compassion that is so much a part and parcel of my faith,” says Khan.

To participate in The Big Sleepout sign up here: https://www.bigsleepout.org.nz/