Record number of participants brave the cold to raise funds to end youth homelessness in Ottawa
OTTAWA, December 2, 2016 —More than 600 people from across Ottawa, about half of them youth, joined community leaders to sleep out in the cold to raise funds to combat youth homelessness in Ottawa. The SleepOUT for Youth event, organized by the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) raised $198,000.
Participants included Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau, Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor, Deputy Police Chief Jill Skinner, Stéphane Giguere, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing, and many more, spending the night in the cold to bring the issue of youth homelessness to the fore. For the first time, the SleepOut for youth was held at The Stadium at TD Place.
“Although Ottawa is a great place to live, there are about 1000 young people every year in this city who don’t have a safe place to sleep,” said Joanne Lowe, Executive Director of YSB. “If we can help them with the support they need, they can avoid a lifetime of chronic homelessness.”Participants fundraised individually and as teams; the donations page will remain open until December 31 at SleepOut.ysb.ca.
Funds from this campaign will go towards running housing and support services, including YSB’s emergency shelters for young men and young women. YSB also runs a drop-in centre, food bank, health clinic, and other services for street-involved youth.
“I love sleeping under the stars,” said one young participant. “The difference with homeless youth is that they don’t have a choice, and sleeping outside in the winter is not fun.”
The event culminated in a significant announcement: as a part of their Orange Door Project initiative, The Home Depot Canada Foundation made a $26,000 grant in support of YSB’s efforts to end youth homelessness. This was added to significant contributions from TD Canada and the Bell Let’s Talk initiative as event sponsors. Other SleepOUT partners were TD Place, Gabriel Pizza, RH Precision, Homestead, Aroma Espresso Bar, David’s Tea, Whole Foods, Ably Productions and Versature.
About the Youth Services Bureau
YSB is one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agencies serving youth in Ottawa. It offers more than 30 programs and serves 3,000 youth and families every month in the areas of youth engagement, housing and homelessness, mental health, youth justice and employment.
Suzanne Fraser, Youth Services Bureau