Brock U. StudentsTo Sleep Outside To Raise Awareness Of Homelessness In Niagara

Students will be set up outside Mackenzie Chown Complex A Block and will be accepting non-perishable food and cash donations from March 12 to 16. Online donations are also being accepted at 5days.ca/brock throughout March.’

News from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted March 8th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Breanne Van Den Breemen has felt the impact of homelessness.

While she’s never been without a place to lay her head, the 19-year-old Hamilton native has a close relative who, despite the best efforts of family and local shelters, has experienced homelessness for many years.

“It’s difficult when we’re always wondering where he is and if he’s safe,” said the second-year Brock Bachelor of Arts student. “I wish I could have a greater understanding of who he is and what his life could be like if he had the proper support to have a home.”

The circumstances have had a profound impact on Van Den Breemen’s family and, as a result, she hopes to help raise awareness and support for local services that aid with homelessness in Niagara.

Van Den Breemen will be among about a dozen Brock students who will sleep outside next week as part of the national 5 Days for the Homeless campaign.

From Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 16, the group of volunteers will give up their warm beds to actively raise both funds and awareness for homelessness, particularly among at-risk youth.

Students participating in the campaign give up necessities and comforts such as shelter, proper sleeping arrangements, access to food (except what is donated to them), heat and showers.

With the exception of using technology for homework and sharing their experience on social media to promote the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign, students will give up their smartphones and laptops while continuing to attend class throughout the week.

Organized by the Goodman Business Students’ Association, the campaign partners annually with Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold, which received more than $3,000 in donations through the 2017 initiative. This year’s team has set a fundraising goal of $5,000.

Goodman School of Business Dean Andrew Gaudes said homelessness is an issue that’s not distant from reality for many people.

“We have to realize that homelessness is all around us and affecting people we know and care about in our region,” he said. “St. Catharines has been declared as a compassionate city by its mayor, and we should be able to demonstrate that by recognizing the importance of this issue and by giving in any we can to help change the outcome of people’s lives.”

The student group is collecting donations — both monetary and non-perishable food — to support Community Care.

“We are grateful to be the recipients of Brock’s 5 Days for the Homeless campaign once again,” said Betty-Lou Souter, CEO of Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold.

“Through this initiative, the issue of homelessness is brought to the forefront in a unique way,” she said. “The outreach of the students is vast and reinforces the importance of supporting those who through no fault of their own do not have the luxury of sleeping in a warm bed with a roof over their heads each and every night.”

Students will be set up outside Mackenzie Chown Complex A Block and will be accepting non-perishable food and cash donations from March 12 to 16. Online donations are also being accepted at 5days.ca/brock throughout March.

Donations will also be collected at Niagara IceDogs games at the Meridian Centre on Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m.; at Zehrs (Pen Centre) on Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and at the St. Catharines Farmers’ Market on Thursday, March 15 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An informal event will be held Friday, March 16 at 9 a.m. in the Scotiabank Atrium of the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex to end the campaign and recognize the efforts of students.

 Now Here Is Some Related News On Homelessness in Niagara

“Volunteers Needed” in Niagara to conduct “Homeless Count”

A Call-Out from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted March 8th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara is once again taking part in a coordinated effort to measure homelessness across Canada. Volunteers are needed to conduct Niagara’s coordinated point-in-time homeless count.

In March 2018, a partnership of community agencies and Niagara Region will conduct another point-in-time homeless count. The first count was conducted in 2016.

Organizers are calling the initiative “Niagara Counts” and have launched a volunteer recruitment drive to carry out the count.

Over a 24-hour period, trained volunteers will count and survey individuals who are staying in shelters, short-term housing and sleeping rough (without shelter). Niagara Counts will provide a “snapshot” of homelessness in the region.

It will indicate the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in our community. 

Niagara Counts will improve our understanding of the needs and circumstances of the people who are affected by homelessness in our community. The survey will provide us with key data on gender, age, ethnicity, veteran status and more.

Results from the count will be made publicly available and we will use the results of the count to improve our response to homelessness. In the future, successive counts will allow us to measure progress towards our ultimate goal: ending homelessness in Niagara.

In 2016, over 140 volunteers conducted the street count along 28 designated routes and within shelters. The 2016 count identified at least 465 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Niagara.

Since the point-in-time count in 2016, Niagara Region Homelessness Services has increased its investment in Housing First, a supported housing model designed for chronically homeless individuals, for a total of 168 units across the region.

It has also secured provincial funding for a new supportive permanent housing program called Home for Good which is also designed to house chronically homeless people and provide them with wraparound supports including mental health services, addictions supports and occupational therapy. These programs are targeted to clients who have long shelter stays or have lived on the streets for a period of time.

Niagara Counts has received support from Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (Employment and Social Development Canada). By the end of April, individuals experiencing homelessness will be enumerated in 30 communities across the country. The coordinated effort will help us to create a picture of homelessness in communities across Canada.

Volunteers can register at www.niagararegion.ca/niagaracounts

For more information:

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

 

 

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