Intro for November 21, 2013
In 14 cities across North America today, business leaders and celebrities will be spending the night outside. They’re doing it in support of street youth for Covenant House. The event is called the Covenant House Sleepout. I did it last year. I slept on sloped concrete, on cardboard, in a sleeping bag, and I could hear the mice running along the alley.
Earlier on in the evening, we spoke to former homeless kids who “coached” us on how to make it through the night. Newspaper is really useful. You layer it on top of you and it acts like insulation. Also, try not to get robbed or raped. Because that’s what happens when your home is at the corner of Main and Front.
As hard as it was, we actually had it easy. We were grouped together and we all knew it would be over tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t suck. It sucked for a long, cold, awful night. How do they do it? How do they stand it? Why should they have to?
At Covenant House, our kids are running from abuse and neglect and fear. Nobody chooses to sleep on cardboard and risk robbery and rape. It’s the ultimate in sh-t vs diarrhoea. Imagine what could be so bad, so intolerable, that you’d rather make a bed out of cardboard and be roommates with rats than be where you came from.
At Covenant House, we’re trying to help them stop running. First by clothing and feeding them in the crisis shelter. Then by providing resources to counselling and treatment. After that we work with them on employment skills. And we stay with them as they slowly build structured, sustainable healthy lifestyles. It doesn’t happen overnight. But in one night, on a Sleepout, you can get a good start, especially when a community rallies around you.
Please click here for more about the Covenant House Sleepout in Vancouver... and in Toronto. My friend and colleague Ben Mulroney is sleeping out tonight. Jeanne Beker too. And Arlene Dickinson from Dragon’s Den.
Please click here for information on other Covenant House locations closer to you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Yours in gossip,