Skip to main content

Queensland’s inaugural Backseat SleepOut was a huge success – with property and construction leaders from across the state spending a night in their cars to fundraise for homeless youth building projects in the region.

70 people came together at Eat Street Northshore, Hamilton on 26 October to share a very special and moving night of community and connection, raising $35,000 for The Haven Project. Keynote speaker Jelena Dokic gave an inspiring, emotional and honest presentation about her lived experience of homelessness, family, and domestic violence, which she endured for over a decade. The former tennis pro and well-known media commentator explained how she was still impacted by the trauma and wanted to use her profile to raise awareness for other young people living in fear, with no safe place to escape. Jelena shared the hope of everyone in the room – that no young person should be without a safe and secure home.

An intimate Q&A with Jelena allowed for questions from the audience. “The Property Industry Foundation’s work, passion and dedication is making a difference to the lives of children and young people who have experienced neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse,” said Jelena. “I’m not the first – and I won’t be the last – to experience this type of violence, but I hope to use my platform to strengthen the Foundation’s work in creating safe places for children to not only heal but live out their dreams.”

Also sharing his story was Brandon, a young man currently living in a transitional home owned by South Burnett CTC, a not-for-profit organisation that supports the needs of disadvantaged people in the South Burnett region. Brandon told his impactful story of family violence, homelessness and finding refuge. “Being at the event was a significant moment for me personally, as I know what it’s like to have nowhere else to go,” said Brandon. “I’ve been through homelessness and now look where I am: I have an actual home now after thirteen months in a shelter and thirty-three months in transitional housing, and I have a job and a car as well. The catharsis that comes with being free from homelessness will stay with you for eternity.”

Brandon officially announced the Property Industry Foundation’s next exciting project in Queensland – Haven House Kingaroy, a project in partnership with South Burnett CTC that will provide four more bedrooms for transitional housing in the Kingaroy area. This modern home will support young people who are transitioning from care living to independent living.

“Being there to witness the announcement of the construction of Haven House Kingaroy brought hope to me that one day, the problems of homelessness will finally be resolved, one house at a time,” said Brandon.

Also taking to the main stage was energetic, comedic band Geed UP, who got the crowd grooving with their dad jokes, beats and hip hop moves. Guests enjoyed delicious Mexican cuisine for dinner and prizes were given to top fundraisers. A sprinkling of tropical rain didn’t dampen the good vibes from the crowd, and everyone was keen to bed down for the night in their cosy car boots and backseats!

Property Industry Foundation Queensland State Manager Antoinette Rusby-Perera, who also participated in the Backseat SleepOut, was thrilled with how the event unfolded – raising both funds and awareness for homelessness in Queensland.

“Thousands of young Queenslanders don’t have a safe or stable home and are forced to couch surf, sleep in cars or on the street, so it was inspiring to see the industry come together overnight to support the homeless youth crisis,” Antoinette said. “Spending the night in their cars showed our participants the harsh reality of what many homeless people face, especially amid the current housing crisis and the increasing cost of living pressures.”

Backseat SleepOut would not have been possible without our incredible sponsors and partners, prize donors, and the 70 sleepout participants, who came from all areas of the industry and included families, couples, colleagues, and friends. Thank you to everyone involved in making this a night to remember.

Congrats to our first and second place individual and first and second place team fundraisers:

We are still fundraising towards our target of 50K for the 9,593 young people in Queensland who are homeless or without stable housing. DONATE HERE

See you next October, 2024!