Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

Roughin It to Raise Dollars and Awareness

The challenge to sleep ‘rough’ and raise awareness and funds for Launch Housing was taken up by MCEC staff, with our team raising $2,355 to help end homelessness in Melbourne.

In a show of support for our long-term community partners, five of our people accepted the Launch Housing Roughin’ It Challenge and lived for one or more days in April on just $10 a day, with no bed and just one bag of belongings.

Launch Housing believes that the first step to ending homelessness is understanding the issues that cause it and building compassion for the people who are experiencing it. Each MCEC participant acknowledged that the Roughin’ It Challenge gave them a glimpse into what it can be like for the hundreds of people in Melbourne who have nowhere safe to sleep at night.

“I was really aware of all the small comforts and conveniences I take for granted. Even sleeping without a bed, I still had a roof over my head,” said Rohan Astley, Senior Manager Communications. For Vanessa Draga, Partnerships and Engagement Coordinator, the biggest challenge was not being able to use everyday household items like her kettle or microwave. “It has made me more grateful for the little things in life we take for granted. I am very blessed to have somewhere safe to call home,” she said.

For Darren Horne, Senior Manager Security & Safety, the challenge gave him an appreciation for how difficult it can be living without basics like access to water, electrical goods, shower and a bed. It also prompted him to consider the people who are affected by homelessness. “I looked up rental affordability on a low income. This really opened my eyes to understand how difficult living in Melbourne can be for someone on a low income trying to support themselves and potentially a family,” he said.

Darren, Vanessa and Rohan are on board for the Roughin’ It Challenge 2021. As Darren said, “Homelessness is such a complex and challenging social issue, I feel that if we all contribute a little bit more we can make a difference in someone’s life”.

The money raised through the Roughin’ It Challenge will go to Launch Housing to help provide crisis housing, support for long-term housing, assistance with healthcare and job skills, and will contribute to research to help community groups and governments work towards understanding and ending homelessness.

Launch Housing (formerly Hanover Welfare Services) is a Melbourne-based community organisation that delivers homelessness services and life-changing housing supports to disadvantaged Victorians. MCEC has supported Launch Housing since 2012, providing financial donations, workplace giving and in-kind support. The MCEC Launch Housing Employment Program provides casual work opportunities at MCEC to some of Launch Housing’s youth clients.

To learn more about homelessness in Melbourne and find out how you can help make a difference, go to

Some facts about homelessness in Melbourne:

More than 20,000 people won’t be able to sleep in their home tonight. Around 800 of the people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne are sleeping rough. Sleeping rough places vulnerable people at enormous risk – rough sleepers have an increased chance of poor health, violence and death.

People experience homelessness for different reasons, but some of the main causes are poverty, unemployment, a lack of affordable housing, family violence and domestic violence. Melburnians care about homelessness. A study by Launch Housing and Foresight in June 2020 found that 76% of Melburnians agree homelessness can happen to anyone.