CEOs Use Virtual Reality to Simulate the Experience of Being Homeless, Face Instantaneous Backlash

The rich may be even more divorced from reality than we thought.

During Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Sydney, Australia, a charity event designed to raise money for the homeless, corporate executives donned virtual reality headsets to simulate the experience of living on the streets. 

The tweet provoked a swift backlash, with several users questioning why these titans of industry couldn't just, ya know, speak with actual homeless people.

The CEOs did get something approaching an authentic taste of poverty, as participants slept in makeshift cardboard tents with pillows and a sleeping bag. These wealthy men and women were experiencing homelessness only for a single night, unlike the thousands who live in such conditions for months and even years at a time.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout seeks to raise funds for Vinnies Homeless Services across Australia. This year’s event took place on June 22 and featured the participation of 1,479 CEOs and 35,311 additional supporters. So far, the event has raised about $5 million to fund homeless services in the country.

According to Homelessness Australia, there are currently 105,000 people living on the streets of the country, with even more people in insecure housing situations. The problem is exacerbated by the country’s housing crisis, with rapidly increasing rents pushing the poor out of their homes. 


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