I’m spending one miserable night out on the street in Downtown Vancouver, in the middle of November, so that homeless youth won’t have to. It’s a small gesture, but it can have a big impact.
Covenant House Sleep Out 2017
The Covenant House Sleep Out takes place at Covenant House locations across the world, supporting local homeless youth so that they don’t have to spend another night outside. This year on November 16th, executives, public figures and well connected leaders in our community will once again sleep outside for one night in solidarity with those youth who may face many more cold, lonely nights until they find their way through the doors of Covenant House Vancouver.
Covenant House Statistics
- 39% of Covenant House’s youth present with a mental health diagnosis
- 70% have witnessed family violence
- 50% of Covenant House’s youth present with an addiction problem
- 95% of Covenant House’s youth report that Covenant House has helped them
- 75% of youth feel more confident about their future after staying at Covenant House
- Average length of stay has increased 83% in past five years (Covenant House knows that a young person’s success rate increases significantly with longer stays)
“Many of the kids have lived with violence or the threat of violence for much of their young lives. Feeling safe is a right we all have but one these kids have not enjoyed.”
Before we head outside on the night of the Sleep Out we usually split off into groups and speak with youth clients and volunteers. It is always encouraging to meet kids who went from being homeless, to the crisis shelter all the way through to Rights of Passage, Covenant House’s program that prepares them for the bigger world.
Those in Rights of Passage actually pay (an affordable) rent and get full access to programs provided that they have a job or they are in school. They end up learning basics like grocery shopping and budgeting, and once they are through the program (6 months to 2 years) they are supported when they eventually move out, even welcomed to return for the weekly communal dinners. The care just keeps going to ensure the youth become self-sufficient, gainfully employed, successful individuals.
In 2013, my first Sleep Out year, over 600 participants around North America slept out for their local Covenant House. They raised over $3 million. Vancouver had 5% of the participants but raised 10% of the funds.
This will be my 5th Covenant House Sleep Out and I would love your support. $10, $20, $50, any amount you can donate directly to Covenant House through my campaign page would be of significance. Whatever amount you can spare can truly make a difference.
Thank you very much for your consideration and follow me on Instagram and Twitter for updates on November 16th when I sleep out on the street again. Follow Covenant House on Twitter and Facebook for much more information.