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United Way Elgin Middlesex
Sleepless in our City

Police Chief Chris Herriedge, Mayor Joe Preston, LoriAnn Baetz-Abdey and friends sleep out to tackle homelessness on Feb. 20

St. Thomas, ON, February 6, 2020 - Police Chief Chris Herridge, Mayor Joe Preston, Labour Activist, LoriAnn Baetz-Abdey, St. Thomas District Labour Council and friends are asking residents in St. Thomas to share all the warmth they've got to give this winter.

On Feb. 20, these local activists will bundle up and sleep outside in their cars for United Way Elgin Middlesex's Sleepless in our City from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. in the Boston Pizza parking lot, 860 Talbot St. The event will raise money to fight homelessness and poverty in St. Thomas and Elgin County.

Media and the general public are welcome to kick off the event at 7:30 p.m.

It's going to be uncomfortable, difficult and cold. But, for them, it's just one night. For some in St. Thomas and Elgin County, sleeping rough, couch-surfing or living in temporary shelter is every night. Approximately 16% of Elgin-St. Thomas residents live under the low-income cutoff and 1 in 5 children live in poverty.

"Taking on issues like homelessness in a community like St. Thomas can be very difficult. We are in-tune with what youth are experiencing here when they are forced to leave their home, but the reality of being a smaller town makes overcoming some of these issues a big challenge," shares Lindsay Rice, Director of Services and Community Development, YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin.

Many individuals experiencing homelessness in St. Thomas and Elgin County are invisible.

"Because of our size, and the need, we seek innovative ways to overcome these barriers. This means working together to create opportunity across the community to move the needle on issues like youth homelessness and poverty," Rice continues.

An estimated 80% of those without a place to call home are unseen. Homelessness could be sleeping outside or in the rough, but it could also be sleeping in a car, an abandoned building, shed or barn, couch-surfing at a friend's or a teen who accepts housing from an adult, rather than be on the street.

Donations to Sleepless in our City help United Way invest in programs that fight homelessness and poverty in St. Thomas and Elgin County. Donations are invested in immediate basic needs like food security, emergency shelter and transitional housing supports. Longer term, United Way works with community partners to fight the root causes of homelessness. Donations to United Way stay 100% local, always.

How you can help:

  • Pledge your support for Joe, LoriAnn, Chris and friends.
  • Tell your friends about Sleepless in our City and ask them to donate to United Way and join the fight to end homelessness and poverty in St. Thomas and Elgin Country.
  • Join us on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Boston Pizza parking lot, 860 Talbot St, St. Thomas, to meet the team and launch Sleepless in our City.
  • Become a monthly donor and help United Way invest in programs that tackle poverty and homelessness year-round. Your donation stays 100% local, always.

Last Updated: Thursday, 06 February 2020 15:22:30 PM EST

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