Vancouver’s plummeting temperatures and rainy nights are hard enough when you have a dry home and a warm bed to go to. But imagine how hard they must be for Vancouver’s homeless population.
Downtown streets can be a dangerous place for the growing number of young homeless people in Vancouver. Sexual exploitation, drug abuse, poverty and illness have become commonplace, and many at-risk youths are re-victimized, and have to flee another unsafe situation. This is where Covenant House steps in, providing Vancouver’s homeless youth with the first step toward a new life, away from the streets.
On November 19, the charity is challenging local executives, community luminaries and notables to Sleep Out for one night in solidarity with the youths from Covenant House. With only a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard, participants will get a small glimpse of what it’s like to “sleep” on the street. “Sleepers” will also interact with some of the youth currently staying at Covenant House. Participants will hear personal stories about finding shelter and how it’s changed peoples lives. Youths will also have the opportunity to ask the participants why they support Covenant House and why they are Sleeping Out.
Vancity Buzz’s own Manny Bahia will be one of the participants sleeping outside at this year’s Executive Edition, in the hope that 54 youths won’t have to. “Everybody deserves at least the basic necessities of shelter and running water.” Manny said upon signing up. “Investing in youth is important to build strong communities and empower them to be positive contributors to society.”
If you’re unable to join those on the street, you can still do your bit to help out by donating to the cause online.
Covenant House Vancouver exists for those young people for whom there is often no one else – young people who have either willingly fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or those who have been forced from their homes. They understand that life changes are challenging and do everything in their power to ensure that young people succeed at whatever plan they have chosen for themselves. As long as genuine effort is demonstrated, so is their commitment.