The forecast predicted rain, possibly heavy. On the night there was heavy downpour, thunder, and lightning. And participants of the Lifewise Big Sleepout – 115 leaders and influencers from around the country – had nothing but a cardboard mattress and their sleeping bag. Despite the weather they slept rough for one night to not only raise awareness about youth homelessness but also raise over $300,000 at the 8th annual Lifewise Big Sleepout.
The Big Sleepout, held on 6 July this year, is Lifewise’s largest fundraiser and calls upon influential New Zealanders to forgo the comfort of a warm bed for one night and experience what thousands of homeless New Zealanders face on a daily basis – a cold, wintery night exposed to the elements.
With over half of New Zealand’s homeless population aged under 25 (and a quarter of those being children), this year’s event put the spotlight on ending youth homelessness. Each “rough sleeper” was asked to raise at least $2000 to support initiatives that help us to place young people into permanent homes and have access to the support services they need. Together they have now raised an impressive $305,279!*
With another few weeks until the fundraising deadline, we are optimistic about reaching our final target of $350,000.
* The grand total of fundraising now stands at $330,090