Chilly challenge for Mayor and CEO

REDLAND City Mayor Karen Williams and CEO Bill Lyon are set to jump into bed with some of Queensland’s biggest movers and shakers – but the arrangement is nowhere near as cozy as it may seem.

In fact, it’s almost enough to send chills up (and down) your spine!

The pair will be among 180 business and government executives braving the freezing winter elements and “sleeping rough” at Southbank as part of the St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleepout on June 20.

But if they think spending the night with a piece of cardboard, a beanie and a cup of soup for just one night will be a breeze, wait until the until the mercury drops into the single figures – on the longest night of the year!

The CEO Sleepout is just a temporary dose of the challenges faced by more than 100,000 Australians on any given night this winter. Just under half of these people will be women, and a quarter will be aged under 18 years.

Cr Williams said exact numbers for Redlands were difficult to gauge but the latest statistics suggested more than 1000 people in the City fitted the “disadvantaged” socio-economic profile.

“Not all of these people sleep rough every night,” she said. “Homelessness covers a broad range of circumstances for people facing difficulties finding shelter.

“Some squat in derelict buildings, some sleep in their cars and others will move from one form of temporary accommodation to another.

“Others commonly ‘couch surf’ at the homes of family and friends.”

Adding to the complexity of estimating accurate homelessness in the Redlands are “housing stress” such as supply, prices, median rents and comparatively lower incomes. Statistics gleaned from the Census and a series of homeless studies suggest this is particularly an issue for the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.

The research also factors in people living in boarding houses and caravan parks without the security of a long term lease, who are considered to be “at risk of homelessness”.



Council CEO Bill Lyon said that because the CEO Sleepout was for just one night, residents could raise the stakes to help raise the fundraising bar.

“If you don’t think sleeping rough is challenge enough, you can put some skin the game with a pledge or donation that matches your challenge or dare,” he said.

One of the ideas pitched to raise extra funds include daring both the Mayor and CEO to wear matching onesies, the one-piece unisex phenomenon which has quickly secured its place in adult sleepwear’s trend-setting stakes. This has since evolved into the CEO dressing as Simba the Lion King or, alternatively, as Kimba the White Lion.

Others include challenging Cr Williams to sing the chicken dance song, or for both to read children’s bedtime stories to be shared worldwide via Facebook and YouTube.

Visit Council’s website, to see some of the challenges to date, to issue your own creative challenge or to make a donation to such a great cause.

  • The CEO Sleepout aims to both raise to help homeless people and raise awareness of homelessness. The target for 2013 is $1 million. The Sleepout will be held in every Australian capital city on June 20 – in Brisbane at The Courier-Mail Piazza, Southbank.
  • Mayor Karen WIlliams and CEO, Bill Lyon

    Mayor Karen WIlliams and CEO, Bill Lyon