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Toowoomba community members are being urged to support a student-led push against homelessness. Close to 500 people are homeless in Toowoomba – in the wider Darling Downs and Southern Downs region that figure climbs towards 700.

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) will host a Vinnies Community Sleepout on the USQ Toowoomba Engineering Green on Saturday, July 20th. The event will see students and community members sleep out for one night on cardboard to raise awareness of growing homelessness in regional Queensland.

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USQ Student Life, USQ Residential Colleges and the USQ Resident Student Club are working together on the event to give students, staff and the wider community the chance to come together to raise funds for people who are sleeping rough, in tents, couch surfing or in overcrowded housing, without a place of their own to call home.

Event organising committee member and USQ Residential College student Taylah Currell said it was her work as a Vinnies Youth Volunteer that inspired her to do more. “I’m passionate about helping people and if an opportunity to do that comes up, I’ll always take it,” she said.

“I’ve been involved with Vinnies for two years now working with children to build their life skills and become active members of society. That’s why I got involved with Vinnies Community Sleepout, because I know how beneficial it will be for not only people experiencing homelessness first hand but also for the wider community.”

Emma Rae (USQ), Cr Geoff McDonald (Toowoomba Regional Council), student Taylah Currell, Julie Inskip (Vinnies), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Services) Helen Nolan, and Andrew Fletcher (USQ).- (USQ Photography)

Taylah urges everyone in the community to get behind the event, either through participating or donating to someone who is sleeping out.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a great turnout and people get out of their comfort zones to be involved in something bigger than they know,” she said. “I believe participating in the Vinnies Community Sleepout is a big step in educating the community and the future of Australia about homelessness.”

The event aims to raise $10,000 towards vital life-changing homelessness support services and an affordable housing project Vinnies wants to establish in Newtown, adding to the more than 100 people the charity already houses in Toowoomba.

Vinnies has assisted more than 12,500 people in need in its Toowoomba region so far this year, including 5,000 children.


Submitted by:
Rhianwen Whitney
USQ

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