Oh what a night!

We couldn’t have imagined the first ‘Sleep-out for change’ could have gone any better. Forty participants took part in the event which included small group discussions followed by sleeping (for those of us lucky enough to fall asleep) on a sheet of cardboard overnight.

We had great conversations and visits from some people who had experienced or are experiencing homelessness. They joined in conversation with some of the participants and one kind lady experiencing homelessness even donated 75 cents!

We can’t thank our participants enough for all they did, from raising money and awareness, to engaging in active conversation, to talking about how we can make it bigger and better for next year. The event was never intended to replicate what a person experiencing homelessness is going through. We could never do that. In reality, we got to return to our warm houses the next morning. It was simply meant to generate conversation around the topic, create awareness of the need for all of us to do more and raise much needed funds for services for Shelter Nova Scotia clients.

Getting ready to bunk down for the night

Some of our participants learned first-hand the difficulties in creating change for the homelessness issue. They had donors ready to sponsor them until they learned the event was for homelessness and then they changed their minds. This illustrates just how far we need to go to change attitudes.

The sleep-out portion of the event was only meant to create a sense of vulnerability for the participants and show a symbol of respect for those experiencing homelessness, but I can tell you the participants did make a sacrifice to be there. It turned out to be a cold, damp, windy night. That, coupled with the sounds of traffic, crosswalk signals and people passing by, presented challenges people didn’t think of. I experienced a sense of pride and respect
for all the participants as I looked out over the sea of sleepers.

We urge you to continue to visit the ‘Sleep-out for change’ website over the next month. We’ve encouraged our participants to change their personal profiles by sharing their thoughts of their night sleeping out. You can read their thoughts and sponsor any of our participants for their efforts on the sleep-out night.

What can you do to improve the homelessness issue in our community?

 -Don    

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