Census District Manager sleeping rough to shed some light on the homeless

15 June 2011 | TAS/25

Northern Tasmanian District Manager for the Census program, Ally Mercer, will join other national business and community leaders at St Vincent de Paul’s Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout at Launceston's Aurora Stadium tomorrow night (Thursday 16 June).

The Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout challenges senior business and community leaders to sleep rough on the streets for a night to raise money and awareness for Australia’s homeless.

Mrs Mercer said the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will be counting people experiencing homelessness in the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, including people sleeping rough.

“This is an opportunity for me to gain a very small experience of homelessness, while raising money for a worthy cause,” Mrs Mercer says.

In addition to raising awareness of homelessness in Australia, Mrs Mercer is sleeping rough to encourage an accurate homeless count in the Census on Tuesday, 9 August 2011.

“It's essential that everyone in Australia is counted, including people who are homeless at Census time. The information collected from the Census helps to inform government decision-makers and service providers about the scale of homelessness,” Mrs Mercer says.

Mrs Mercer says getting an accurate homeless Census count is a priority for the ABS.

“We’ve been working closely with homeless service providers across the country to make sure everyone gets counted. Without the support of the service providers we cannot get an accurate count, and I want to thank them for their support so far,” Mrs Mercer adds.

“It’s important if you have no usual permanent address, including if you’re staying with family or friends temporarily, to write ‘None’ in the Suburb/Locality box for the usual place of residence question on the Census form.”

Mrs Mercer and her ABS colleagues have so far raised more than $1000 for this year’s Tasmanian Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout.