As temperatures continue to dip below freezing point, business, community and government leaders stepped outside the comforts of their homes to spend a night at a Canberra Airport hangar.
Participating in Vinnies CEO Sleepout, they spent the night on the floor of the hangar in a bid to raise awareness about homelessness.
They got a glimpse into the challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness, before having to return to work the next day.
Barnie van Wyk, chief executive of St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, spent the night at Canberra Airport.
He later said the target for raising money for people at risk of, or currently experiencing, homelessness had already exceeded the expected target.
"It was a very successful event, and a wonderful privilege to be able to sleep out at Canberra Airport," he said.
"I am pleased we have been able to exceed our target of $700,000. This money will go to our programs and services designed to break the cycle of poverty."
Helen Curtin, who is Vinnies' area manager for Goulburn, joined Mr van Wyk at the Canberra Airport CEO Sleepout.
"It was a great night, but certainly very cold. It dropped to -5 and we felt it on that hard, concrete floor," Ms Curtin said.
"Having worked at Vinnies for four years, I know about the great work the Society does.
"Getting to learn even more about the programs and services we run was fantastic, since the funds raised at Vinnies shops go to keeping those programs running."
She was one of the participants who slept on the floor using only cardboard even as temperature dipped to -4.9C. They had a soup and bread roll to sustain them.
Shane Mitchell, store manager at Red Cross Society Goulburn, said that it was a difficult time for homeless people in the city.
"It's getting colder and we have people coming in to get warm clothes and blankets to keep themselves warm," he said.
Mr Mitchell added that it was specially tough for people living on the street during this cold weather as there were no homeless shelters in the area.
"There are so many homeless people and no shelters for them around here. It makes it tougher for them," he said.
Toni Reay, regional manager for housing and social services at Anglicare, elaborated more about the situation in the Goulburn region.
"Tragically, the number of families in the Goulburn region who are at risk of homelessness is growing," she said.
"Our Anglicare homelessness and housing service has assisted [more than] 650 people over the last year.
"The majority of children assisted are aged between just 0-5 years of age, and the team also assisted an increasing number of people aged over 75.
"Financial hardship, domestic violence, unemployment and health problems are the main issues putting people at risk.
"It's heartbreaking to see this level of vulnerability in our community."
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