Group bedding down on streets to shine light on homelessness

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Spending 24 hours outside in downtown St. John’s may not be the way most people would spend a day and a night during this slow-to-start spring, but many people don’t have a choice in the matter.

That’s why Renee Dumaresque and eight or so MUN medical students will spend the night outside starting Friday afternoon. Dumaresque is the campaign leader of Sleep out 120 — an event where people spend five full days on the streets to raise awareness and money for housing and homelessness in the province. Dumaresque previously has taken part in that five-day event.

“It was rewarding and it was challenging,” she says.

The five-day event will likely take place in October. The 24-hour one this weekend is meant to give people a taste of what it’s like to have to sleep outside and to encourage them to take part in the longer fall campaign.

Dumaresque says they will have shirts and signs that will identify them and they will sing chants. Only the most extreme weather will keep them from going ahead with the 24-hour campaign event, she says.

“We’re typically downtown on Water Street or Duckworth Street because that’s where the most traffic is, too, and then you have people going to and from work,” she says, adding that all the foot traffic makes for a good opportunity to raise funds through donations.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Water Street, Duckworth Street

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  • Virginia Waters
    April 22, 2014 - 07:58

    Even in a city awash with oil money, the problem of homelessness and substandard housing continues unabated. Homeless is a national problem of course. A few days ago, the wife of the prime minister, Laureen Harper, spoke at a function to raise money for homelessness. It turns out however that the focus of Harper's charitable endeavours was not human homelessness but rather the plight of cats. Not surprisingly, the ever alert to faux-pas 22 Minute crowd found the humour in Harper's homeless cat hype. When Ms. Dumaresque and her medical students are out there commiserating with the homeless next week, maybe they also can keep an eye out for stray cats.