Winter Sleepout raises record funds for women and children in need

19 Aug 2019

The architecture and design community joined University of Queenslandstudents and staff to sleep rough on one of the coldest nights of the year, raising awareness and funds for women at risk of homelessness in South East Queensland.

UQ’s School of Architecture held its annual Winter Sleepout on Tuesday night (August 13) at Wandering Cooks in South Brisbane, raising a record breaking $43,000 for South-East Queensland women at risk of homelessness.

The money will be donated to the Second Chance Programme, a Brisbane charity that raises funds and provides direct financial help to homeless women and their children.

UQ architecture academic and sleepout co-coordinator Dr Kelly Greenop said the annual event is a reminder to all involved that there is power in numbers. 

"We are able to not only raise much needed funds, a very practical and immediate help, but also as architects, students, researchers and active citizens, we can strive towards better policies on more affordable housing, homelessness prevention and relief,” Dr Greenop said.

"We had 550 donors this year, which shows how far our message can reach, and what the collective can do working together.”

This year’s sleepout was proudly supported by many Brisbane architectural practices including Cavill ArchitectsO’Neil ArchitectureBVNArchipelagoDeicke RichardsCoxFulton Trotter ArchitectsArkhefieldCottee Parker ArchitectsRothelowmanConrad GargettWilson ArchitectsMarc & CoArchitectusBase Architecture and Blight Rayner.

The UQ Architecture Winter Sleepout began in 2011 and since then has raised more than $130,000.

Co-coordinator and UQ architecture Lecturer Michael Dickson said the project’s ability to make a real positive impact to someone’s life is the reason it’s gaining momentum in the design community.

"As designers we can come up with clever design solutions that makes housing more appropriate, accessible, and that connects people, but it does not help someone who just needs direct support to get themselves out of a situation and prevents them from sliding into homelessness,” Mr Dickson said.

“The power of the sleepout is that it leverages everyone’s personal connections so that when small networks come together they can make something big, reinforcing the idea that anyone can be part of a solution if they just step up.

“The project encapsulates the School’s commitment to social equity well beyond the money donated to the cause.”