Melbourne woman signs up for Sleepout

By Olivia Duffey

Melbourne's Ina Tuarikiu was visiting a friend in Deniliquin when she read a Pastoral Times article revealing the shocking homelessness statistic for the local area.

Reading the July article only last week, she said she was shocked to read that more than 400 families sought assistance from the Deniliquin St Vincent de Paul Society in the 12 months to July, with 82 of them declared homeless or in need of temporary accommodation.

These families made 1200 requests for financial assistance combined throughout the 12 months, resulting in more than $200,000 in support being administered in the local community.

It was this article that inspired the 57 year-old to sign up, at the last minute, for the 2019 Deniliquin Vinnies Community Sleepout.

"I know in the city there are heaps and I see them, but I had no idea it was something happening I Deni," Mrs Tuarikiu said.

"I had no idea it was in this little community and little town until I read the local paper. 

"We have a residential address, so we get to go home, but they have to find a spot to stay every night."

While she was significantly affected by the cold during the sleepout, Mrs Tuarikiu says the experience was worth it.

"My friend and I decided to join on the afternoon of the sleepout because we thought it was a good cause," Mrs Tuarikiu said.

"I saw there were people roughing it out for the night so I thought what a good experience it would be to experience what some people do."

"I am glad we decided to sign up and to help the community raise funds, as well as get the experience."