Industry leaders sleep out again to help homeless

Vinnies CEO Sleepout 'a small sacrifice to make'

Industry leaders sleep out again to help homeless



Simplicity Loans & Advisory’s Jean-Pierre Gortan, AFG’s Chris Slater and Lendi Group’s Brad Cramb are all raising funds this year to combat homelessness as part of the Vinnies CEO 2023 Sleepout on June 22.

The annual CEO Sleepout involves more than 1,000 CEOs, business owners and leaders across Australia raise funds by spending one night sleeping outdoors to support Vinnies’ activities to support the homeless.

Gortan (pictured above left), managing director at Sydney commercial finance brokerage Simplicity Loans & Advisory, decided that he would sleep out once again, after taking part and raising $35,000 at last year’s event.

“This is my fifth year doing the CEO Sleepout,” Gortan said. “I’m doing it again this year because it’s a small sacrifice to make, and it goes a long way to change people’s lives.”

Gortan, who has raised over $20,000 so far in 2023, said he was aiming for $50,000.

His sponsors so far include Bendigo Bank, Westpac, Traders in Purple, Marketplace.Finance, Secured Lending, LMG, MSquared, Waterco Limited and Fortis Legal.

AFG head of sales and distribution Chris Slater (pictured above centre) will also be sleeping out this year – his third time participating in the CEO Sleepout. Slater said homelessness was an issue that “touches the heart strings of all of us in our industry”.

“We all have the privilege to work in an industry that helps many Australians in local communities get into housing, and so many of us are fortunate to make a decent living doing it,” Slater said.

“My aunty is a Good Shepherd sister who worked with Vinnies all her life, so this event is close on a personal level for me to support as well.”

This year Slater is joining forces with brokers Andrew Best, the founder of Living Home Loans, as well as Kieran Jeffries, senior finance broker at Olleh Lending, to raise funds together as a team.

“I’m representing AFG and they are supporting generously which we’ve been very grateful for,” Slater said. “We’ve also had amazing support from brokers and industry partners which has been fantastic.”

Slater said that he had revised his fundraising target to $12,500 after hitting his $10,000 funding goal, “and will see how we go with a few weeks left”. Slater raised close to $17,000 last year.

Lendi Group chief distribution officer Brad Cramb (pictured above right), who also took part in the 2022 and 2021 CEO Sleepouts, said “this year is more important than ever” for Lendi, with its executive team taking part, as well as Aussie franchises invited to “join the cause”.

“As a company our foundational goal is to make home ownership more accessible, so this is an initiative we are very passionate about,” Cramb said. “We’ve previously taken part in this great cause, with the team having very small glimpses of the realties faced by the tens of thousands of Australian’s who sleep rough every night.”

This year Lendi Group co-founders Sebastian Watkins and David Hyman are also taking part, and Lendi Group is matching every Aussie franchisee’s fundraising dollar for dollar. It has a fundraising target of $100,000 this year after raising $41,000 in 2021 and $83,000 in 2022.

Cramb said although there were many reasons for homelessness, more and more Australians were seeing how working households were not immune, with homelessness numbers climbing amid Australia’s rental crisis and rental vacancy rates being at historical lows.

“Over the past 12 months our business has increasingly being called on to assist more Australians being hit by financial hardship,” Cramb said. “Some are being squeezed out of the housing market, others unable to cope with soaring mortgage repayments, some searching for more affordable housing amid shortages and soaring rents.”

“We are in the business of helping Australians obtain and maintain a roof over their heads – that’s  what we do every day – this is a community extension of how our industry can help even more. There is power in numbers when we all unite, raising critical funds to improve what could become a much bigger issue in months ahead.”

Gortan agreed it was important for the mortgage industry to continue to contribute to this cause.

“We are all professionals in this industry and we are paid well so it’s important for the industry to give back to those who are less fortunate,” he said.

Click here to pledge funds for Simplicity Loans & Advisory’s Jean-Pierre Gortan, here to support AFG’s Chris Slater and his team, or here to contribute to Peter Cramb and the Lendi Group team’s efforts. To find out more about the Vinnies CEO Sleepout click here.

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