Kylie’s raising a voice for the homeless

Kylie Ward is taking part in her third CEO Sleepout. Picture: Supplied.

KYLIE WARD hopes her participation in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will raise awareness of all homelessness people, particularly women and children.

The Canberra-based CEO of the Australian College of Nursing is about to embark on her third Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

Speaking on behalf of many in the health sector, Ms Ward expressed her disappointment and concern at the plight of those finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

“The prevalence of older women facing hardship is disturbing,” she said.

“They have most likely been carers all their life for families and bosses if they were employed.

“They have not had the working history and choice of careers to secure strong superannuation and financial security that women do now.”

“Personal hygiene is not necessarily something that is discussed regarding homelessness,” she said.

“I find it appalling that essential items such as female personal hygiene products like pads and tampons are taxed when condoms are given out freely to promote sexual health.

“Homelessness is a systemic issue in the community and I think we should learn to identify the point where homelessness or poverty is becoming someone’s reality.

“There is so much stigma and shame for people when their personal circumstances are falling apart.

“As a society we need to raise the voice that it is okay to ask for help and reach out before there are no other alternatives. Supporting someone before they become homeless, knowing where to access the services they need, is crucial to how the issues are addressed in the short term, and nurses understand the complicated systems individuals need to navigate through.”

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Relocation to Canberra

Her generosity to the cause coincided with her appointment to the college and move to the ACT.

“I first learned about the Vinnies CEO Sleepout when I lived in Melbourne, but I wasn’t a CEO at that time and couldn’t participate,” she said.

“As soon as I was appointed as CEO of the Australian College of Nursing, I knew I would participate and have done so each year.

“I know I am privileged to be a CEO so this is the least I can do.

“Housing affordability is often discussed in the public space and there are many Australians facing this issue every day.

“We are fortunate that governments in Australia provide a social system that can deliver universal health care, however there are things that can still be improved and access remains an issue.”

She has a final message to those CEOs who haven’t yet signed up.

“I have a list of people that I am keen to encourage to participate with me this year,” she said.

“I urge other CEOs from various nursing and health organisations to also register their participation in this event and join me.

“Every CEO should involved and participate in the Sleepout.

“People experiencing homelessness are some of our most vulnerable communities, men women and children. It is in ones toughest times an act of kindness means so much.

“If you cannot participate, then get on line, find a CEO and donate to such an important cause.”

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