Students sleeping outside for 5 Days for the Homeless

By Dale Johnson Posted: March 7, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Five students and their supporters hope to raise $35,000 for Carmichael Outreach as they take part in the annual 5 Days for the Homeless campaign.
Five students and their supporters hope to raise $35,000 for Carmichael Outreach as they take part in the annual 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. Photo: External Relations

Five University of Regina students are raising the awareness of homelessness by sleeping outside for five nights.

“Homelessness is an issue in our community and more people need to be aware of this. By having five students sleep outside, this shows students that this is very real and it can happen to anyone,” explains Rachel Langen, co-chair of the event.

It’s called 5 Days for the Homeless and is a national campaign at 19 universities to also raise money for local charities. In Regina the donations will go to Charmichael Outreach, an organization that provides various services for the homeless community including housing and meals.

“The work they do is outstanding and important to many people in Regina, which I think is often overlooked by many people, especially students,” Langen adds.

“It also places emphasis on the need for organizations such as Carmichael Outreach to help these struggling individuals,” says Breanne Dmytriw, co-chair.

The students are attending classes as usual, but at night they’re camped out in sleeping bags just outside the main entrance to the Riddell Centre. They are depending on donations for food. It gives them a small, brief taste of what being homeless might be like.

One of the students sleeping outside is Kashtin Schumacher, a fourth-year business student.

“I think the hardest part is finding a daily routine within this unique situation. From sleeping outside, to being given food to eat, or only having what is on my back for the week takes a lot of adjustments,” Schumacher says.

“After speaking with past participants it was an easy decision to apply to take part. Everyone speaks highly of the impact they feel from being able to give back to their community,” he says.

Also taking part are Maple Baxter from the Faculty of Arts; Madison Biem from the Faculty of Education; Riley Moncrief from the Faculty of Business Administration; and Julie Ready from the Faculty of Education. 

Although the weather is cool for sleeping outside, this March is milder than previous years.

“I think that the higher temperatures will work in our favour. This means that more people will be walking outside and coming up to our sleepers. This gives us more opportunities to talk about Carmichael Outreach and hopefully means that more people will be making donations,” says Cari-Lynn Schoettler, President of the Hill Business Students' Society and the person who oversees the entire operation.

Last year, $200,000 was raised across Canada, including $30,000 at the University of Regina.

The goal is to raise $35,000 during the week, with several events planned.

“By students actually seeing their friends and peers sleeping and living outside, it helps students put into perspective the pressing issue of homelessness, which often goes overlooked. This event is meant to show that homelessness is not always a choice but a matter of circumstance, and anyone could end up without a place to call home,” says Breanne Dmytriw, co-chair.

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