Mortgage leaders help raise over $8.5 million for homelessness

Industry leaders brave winter weather to raise funds

Mortgage leaders help raise over $8.5 million for homelessness


By Ryan Johnson

Mortgage industry leaders braved the winter weather on June 22 to raise awareness for Vinnies' efforts to combat homelessness and poverty in Australia.

During the 2023 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, an annual event, these leaders spent a night without shelter, highlighting the urgent need to support those facing homelessness.

Overall, nearly 1,500 CEOs from various industries united across the country to help raise over $8.5 million, with more than 42,000 people supporting the cause.

Jean-Pierre Gortan (pictured above), director at Sydney-based brokerage Simplicity Loans & Advisory, raised $52,865, exceeding his goal and landing him at sixth place on the NSW fundraising leaderboard.

Now in his fifth year of participation in the CEO Sleepout, Gortan’s efforts helped provide 167 individual support programs, 440 beds, and 1,762 meals for people who are or at risk of becoming homeless.

Last year he raised $35,030, while in 2021 he raised over $13,000.

“This particular night was challenging because it rained, so not only did many participants feel the cold – they also got wet. But overall the pride I felt by achieving the goal made it much easier,” Gortan said.

“Thank you to all that donated. Another amazingly successful Vinnies CEO Sleepout. I’m incredibly proud of what we can contribute to our fellow Australians who may be having a tough time.”

Gortan thanked his sponsors, which included Bendigo Bank, Westpac, Traders in Purple, Marketplace.Finance, Secured Lending, LMG, MSquared, Waterco Limited and Fortis Legal.

Online lending specialist Lendi Group also contributed to the cause, raising over $27,000 after matching every Aussie franchisee’s fundraising dollar for dollar.

Lendi Group CEO David Hyman and COO Sebastian Watkins also raised over $5,000 each – both exceeding their goals.

Brad Cramb, Lendi Group chief distribution officer, said there wasn’t much sleeping at the event and he couldn’t imagine how difficult things are for the 10,000 people across Australia sleeping rough every night.

This year, Cramb raised over $13,000 individually, bringing the total funds raised over the three years attending the event to $39,000.

“The foundational goal of Lendi Group is to make homeownership more accessible for Australians, so this is a cause we are deeply passionate about. With the cost of living rising, support that Vinnies provides in the way of food, accommodation, employment, and counselling has never been more important, which is why I’ve been compelled to participate in the CEO Sleepout again,” Cramb said.

“Having an adequate standard of living is a recognised human right, and this includes a safe place to sleep, so I’m humbled to play a small role to try and help change the reality faced by thousands of Australians every night.”

Chris Slater, head of sales and distribution for aggregator AFG, also slept rough this year.

Also in his third year of participating in the event, Slater raised over $13,000, exceeding his target of $12,500.

“Thanks to all those family, friends, work colleagues, business partners, brokers and industry colleagues who supported,” he said.

Slater also thanked the team at Living Home Loans on the Gold Coast, who raised over $22,000 as a team.

AFG’s Chris Slater at the CEO Sleepout

With the temperature falling to 11 degrees, Private Mortgages Australia's Managing Director Peter Cuskelly was thankful to be among peers in Melbourne this year.

His second year sleeping out, Cuskelly raised $2,500 this year.

"With the day-to-day impact of cost of living increases I am happy to spend a night to help bring awareness to the work that Vinnies does every day to help support those in need,” Cuskelly said.

Picture of Private Mortgages Australia's Managing Director Peter Cuskelly at the sleepout

Vinnies provides a range of holistic services to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The charity said that there is “no one-size-fits-all approach”, so each region and service tailors its support to best suit the needs of the location and the individuals assisted.

The donations from the event help Vinnies provide food, accommodation, and essential services to people at risk and experiencing homelessness.

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