More than $8000 has been raised to help local homeless people after members of the community spent a night sleeping rough.
The 2021 Vinnies Community Sleepout was held on Friday, August 27. Initially, the event was going to be held at the Old Dubbo Gaol, with participants spending the night in the cells.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 11 participants connected virtually and spent the night sleeping in their backyards, cars and in armchairs.
They heard from people with lived experience of homelessness, Vinnies representatives and people who had previously taken part in the event.
Eleven people signed up for the sleepout: Paul Hagarty, Andrew McKay, Julie Webster, Geoff Mann, Dan Sullivan, Scott Macleod, Charlie Nguyen, Murray Wood, Stephen Lawrence, Terry Wilcher and John Larkin.
Mr Macleod has seen homelessness in the region.
"I have never experienced being without a home but it always moves me when I see men and women who are sleeping rough. I know there are many reasons for their situations," he said.
"I am now involved as a builder with TAFE and we are training some of those who need a boost in confidence and self-esteem. By learning skills, they can be a part of the solution and will hopefully be able to make changes in their lives and change their futures."
Mr McKay, who has taken part in four Vinnies Sleepouts said he continued to take part because he had an appreciation of how the organisation assisted people.
Sleepout event coordinator Dan Sullivan thanked the sleepers for becoming the voices for the homeless.
He said they had helped raise the issue of homelessness and the acute shortage of social and affordable housing in Dubbo.
So far more than $8600 has been raised through the Dubbo Sleepout. It will be used by Vinnies to assist people in the region who are homeless, or at risk of it.
Donations can still be made via vinnies.org.au/communitysleepout/dubbo.
Mr Sullivan thanked everyone who had donated.