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Ahead of our social impact hackathon, #Hack4Homelessness scheduled next weekend (15-17 September 2017), we thought we’d catch up with QBE Australia’s Chief Risk Officer Mark Baxter who resonates greatly with this initiative having been touched by homelessness on a personal level.

QBE Insurance Group is one of the world’s top 20 general insurance and reinsurance companies, with operations in all the key insurance markets. They employ more than 14,500 people in 37 countries. Mark explains “QBE has a proud tradition of supporting social causes and have done a lot around homelessness in the past”.

Mark had a difficult childhood, growing up in a poor family in country Victoria, his father struggled with alcoholism and they were kicked out of their family home. They moved from house to house relying on others “grace and favor” to keep a roof over their heads. Mark’s father died when he was just 11 years old and later due to cancer his mother died when he was 15 years old.

He is committed to ending the stigma surrounding homelessness. He remembers going past Martin Place a few weeks ago and feeling as if the people had been demonized by the misconception as to why they are homeless. Thinking, “but for the grace of god it could’ve been me”. His aim is to educate the community that “They’re not bad people and I get really, really annoyed that people do think they’re bad people because the majority are not”.

Mark is very excited about the upcoming Hack4homelessness and “to see some pragmatic real solutions to come out of this that actually help people”.

Vibewire’s #Hack4Homelessness brings Australia’s leading technology, engineering and social impact students, social entrepreneurs and startups together to tackle the challenge of homelessness. Running from 15-17 September 2017, you can register as a participant here.

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