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Vinnies CEO Sleepout: Gary’s report

By 24 June 2016March 3rd, 2022News

Last Thursday, 23rd of June, CT Connections’ Director, Gary Reichenberg, took part in Vinnie’s CEO sleepout.

The CEO sleepout’s objective is to raise money to combat homelessness in Australia. Before we get into Gary’s rundown of the night, here’s some sobering statistics about homelessness in Victoria:

  • 22,000 Victorians are currently homeless,
  • Of that number, 50% are under the age of 25
  • 59% of those accessing specialist homeless services are women…
  • 33% of which are fleeing from domestic violence

How were you feeling prior to taking part, and can you confirm that you did sleep outside, and in the cold?

Super excited – it was technically my first famil in the travel industry. It involved sleeping not just at any 5 or 6 star property, but at something unheard of – a million star category (sleeping under the starts – literally)

*Torrential rains with minor flooding in the catchment areas – Update: Areas of Victoria are now seeing snow – that’s how cold last evening was.

vinnies-ceo-sleepout-garys-report-04But it was NOTHING like glamping. I can confirm that we all slept outside in absolutely freezing conditions – we experienced a recorded low of 1.8 degrees. It really put what the most vulnerable members of our community experience into perspective.

We had to provide our own gear – a sleeping bag, thermals and an extra layer of clothing (I forgot my cushion).

No mattress?

vinnies-ceo-sleepout-garys-report-05The mattress was not quite the Westin Glamour mattresses, but rather two (very generously donated) sheets of cardboard 1m wide by 1.5m long.  One was to sleep on and the second was to provide some level of head cover given the weather forecast was icy winds.



How were you feeling when you saw how bad the weather would be?

My enthusiasm waned pretty vinnies-ceo-sleepout-garys-report-01quickly after realising how cold it would be. Though I was excited at first to know that I had paid for an upgrade – which afforded me bay views, this turned out to actually be a view of the famous Polly Woodside.

The room service at the hotel consisted of two generous volunteers walking up the aisle to offer soup, as well as turndown service – a generous extra cardboard sheet to lie upon. The staff and volunteers on the night were awesome.


Did you hear any interesting stories on the night?

vinnies-ceo-sleepout-garys-report-03I had two bowls of pumpkin soup while listening to a heartwarming story of four individuals helped by Vinnies. I was really taken aback to learn that almost one in three homeless women are fleeing domestic violence – we cannot accept this statistic.

Overall the night was a humbling experience, and I found myself overwhelmed by the number of ‘good folk’ out there donating their time to such causes.

I want to also extend a big thank to my support crew: Caryn (my favourite wife), Jen Mick (for registering me and generously organising fund raisers and thermal gear), Carnelian for organising the social media postings, and lastly each and every one of you who gave generously to the cause. I was also over whelmed by your support via text messages, emails and calls both before, during and after the event.

Thanks as always – I am so thrilled to be part of the CT Connections family.

Love your work,


You can donate to Vinnies and the great work they do, here