Coldest Night of the Year invites Canadians to step outside in the cold and shine light on homelessness
In York Region, homelessness is a crisis that is only getting bigger.
The reality is, people experiencing homelessness are sleeping rough on the streets, in tents, couch-surfing, and sleeping in cars.
According to Blue Door, every night, there are roughly 1,500 people without a place to call home, and COVID-19 only increases that number as people experiencing homelessness are disproportionately affected.
Blue Door’s event, ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ and the Richmond Hill Virtual Walk is being held again this year on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m., and this is an opportunity to change the life of a person experiencing homelessness. The goal is to raise over $140,000 to help support Blue Door’s programs that help vulnerable individuals and families.
The Coldest Night of the Year event is Blue Door’s only annual fundraiser, and helps support urgent needs at Blue Door’s Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold program by providing life-saving services to youth, men, women, and families experiencing homelessness and poverty in York Region. It is a national family-friendly fundraising walk inviting Canadians to step outside the warmth and comfort of their homes to shine a light of welcome, compassion and inclusion in their communities.
As the region’s largest emergency housing provider, Blue Door rooms can not longer hold two people due to COVID-19 safety regulations. This results in a decrease of available beds to support the homeless, and much more need to fund the needed program to help support people experiencing homelessness.
“Homelessness is a very solvable problem. We have the answers,” said Michael Braithwaite, CEO of Blue Door. “We need a variety of things to help prevent homelessness from happening in the first place, but what we especially need is community support to continue providing the life-saving supports and allow vulnerable individuals to keep moving forward,” Braithwaite said.
According to Blue Door’s Director of Programs, Rehana Sumar, Coldest Night of the Year is not only an opportunity for the community to support the work they do, but also to help raise funds which the work they do possible.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s walk will be hosted virtually and will kick off with a virtual celebration recognizing Blue Door’s 40th anniversary.