Peter Howman made more than 300 phone calls on Wednesday, putting the competitive streak that has seen him succeed in business to good use; raising $25,000 for St Vincent de Paul to help fight homelessness.
But in surpassing his target of $20,000, the managing director of Defence Housing Australia made good on a promise to wear a onesie when he slept rough in the annual 2014 Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday night.
''The onesie I think is a hit - it’s warm, it’s a bit embarrassing, but it’s all for a good cause,'' Mr Howman said.
''It’s amazing how many people get behind the cause of homelessness. People know it’s an issue in the community, it’s a big issue and people want to do something and make a difference.''
Mr Howman joined about 100 business leaders, senior bureaucrats and politicians - including Malcolm Turnbull and ACT MLAs Jeremy Hanson and Shane Rattenbury - rugging up with just a sleeping bag and three pieces of cardboard to insulate from the cold Canberra air.
Vinnies estimates there are about 50 people in Canberra sleeping rough each night, and runs a night patrol service to assist them, but the problem of homelessness runs much deeper in the Territory.
''Our latest figures are from the 2011 census, and the ACT has the second-highest rate of homelessness in Australia - only topped by the Northern Territory,'' said Paul Trezise, chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society of Canberra and Goulburn.
“[On that night] there were 1785 people categorised as being homeless. A lot of the homeless are those who are having to sleep with a friend or relative - on the couch, or in the garage, on the floor or are in temporary crisis accommodation; fortunately that’s an area where Canberra does have a lot of support.''
Vinnies hopes to raise $500,000 from the sleepout, which also aims to raise awareness among "influential" people of the complexity of homelessness and what they can do to help.