Over 40 Hunter leaders braved the elements on Thursday night taking part in the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout at Hunter Stadium.

Nationally $8 million was raised, with $160,000 coming from the Hunter.

The money raised by Hunter CEO’s will be given to Matthew Talbot Homeless Service in Newcastle who offer support to homeless men and children across the region. Its outreach workers visit parks, streets, services and homes.

The St Vincent De Paul Society says on average around 500 people are experiencing homelessness, either sleeping unsafely outdoors or in cars, couch surfing in overcrowding households, or in budget accommodation such as caravan parks.

Around 3,852 applicants are waiting for social housing throughout the region.

Vinnies North East Regional Director Clare Van Doorn says it was a great learning experience for the CEO’s.

“We had some people who we have helped through our work speak to the CEO’s and they had a really good chat about what it is like to be homeless and they types of things that they go through.

“It was really good for the CEO’s who may not come in contact with these people to really step into their shoes,” Ms Van Doorn said.