Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, community leaders spend night on streets for charity
Chris Kitching, CP24.com
Published Friday, November 22, 2013 7:16AM EST
Some of Toronto's prominent figures spent a cool and rainy night on the streets to raise money for a local shelter while getting a small glimpse into the hardship homeless people face every day.
It was a mostly sleepless experience for almost 75 business and community leaders who huddled in sleeping bags on cold pavement in a fundraiser for Covenant House.
The group raised more than $700,000 for the organization, which provides a crisis shelter, long-term residential program and services, including education and employment assistance, to about 3,000 youth annually.
"These kids are out on the streets and they’re not safe on the street and they don’t know what’s going to happen to them tomorrow," said police Chief Bill Blair at the end of the sleepover.
The event aims to bring attention to the plight of some of Toronto's most vulnerable residents and Covenant House's efforts to help them get off the streets.
Participants in the fundraiser got a chance to speak to people who found employment after they turned to Covenant House for help.
Cmdr. Timothy O'Leary of HMCS York recalled his conversation with a young man who came from a large family but was forced out of his parents’ home at the age of 16 because they could no longer support him.
Covenant House helped the man get back on his feet and he is now working at a hospital in Toronto.
"He now has a great future ahead of him," O’Leary told CP24 reporter Cam Woolley.
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