24.06.16: Homeless people and housing activists confront CEOs pretending to be homeless because corporate greed is the cause of homelessness, not the solution
**Statement from homeless people and housing activists occupying Bendigo St as part of the ‘Houses Need People, People Need Houses’ campaign**
St Vinnies says of the CEOs participating in their annual CEO Sleepout: “Their commitment has increased the profile of homelessness”. But homelessness has never been more visible on the streets of Melbourne. We do not need more visibility. We need solutions.
By promoting big business as an ally in the fight to end homelessness St Vinnies is covering up the cause of this growing social crisis. If big business in Australia simply paid the tax it owes, billions of dollars would be raised to fund emergency accommodation and build the long-term public housing we desperately need.
With over 105,000 people homeless in Australia and 173,000 on public housing waiting lists the homelessness crisis will not be solved with PR stunts. Many of the businesses participating in the CEO Sleepout have already done far more harm than good. Instead of congratulating them for pretending to be homeless for a night we need to be holding them to account for their role in growing wealth inequality. As the share of tax paid by big business has shrunk, so has spending on public housing for those in need.
Many Australians are suffering from the housing crisis caused by putting the needs of the market before the interests of people. The market can’t solve this growing social crisis, and neither will these CEOs.