This Thursday, November 19, Love It or List It Vancouver’s Todd Talbot will spend a night on the streets of Vancouver with nothing but some cardboard and a sleeping bag as part of Covenant House Vancouver’s Sleep Out: Executive Edition.
“It doesn’t take much, especially if you’re downtown, to see somebody who is living on the street,” says Talbot. “Who knows what their story is?”
Part of Talbot’s motivation for participating in the Sleep Out is his belief that everyone deserves help without judgement.
“I was inspired by what Covenant House does, especially the fact that they focus on the age range between 16 and 24,” he says. “It’s a time in people’s lives when, if they are struggling and they don’t have that last line of defense, what are their other options? For me, I just think that the ability to have a warm, safe environment to be able to take on the challenges of life is one of those core fundamentals that a lot of these kids don’t have.”
Covenant House works to provide these fundamentals. The organization takes in homeless, runaway and at-risk youth in Vancouver and helps them unconditionally by providing shelter, food, clothing, counselling and medical attention. Most importantly, perhaps, it offers them a source of support. “We all need support and help,” says Talbot, “and some more than others. I think the people that Covenant House takes in need a ton of support.”
According to Talbot, it’s important to realize how crucial it is to not only raise awareness about the issue of homelessness, but to actually raise funds for Covenant House. “Really, at the end of the day, doing an article or posting on Facebook is good, but it doesn’t actually do anything,” says Talbot. “You have to actually put your money where your mouth is and actually get funds so that they can do the work that they do.”
In his attempts to raise as much money for Covenant House as possible, on November 6, Talbot hosted a fundraising event at Joyride nail salon called Pedi to the Metal. It was a “guys night,” at which guests drank Scotch, test drove BMWs and enjoyed mani-pedis. “It was just a really cool night,” says Talbot. The event was so successful that he plans to make it an annual event. “It seems like everyone had a blast and I’d love to see if we can make it even bigger next year.”
Although this unique event raised a lot of money for Covenant House, Talbot still hasn’t reached his fundraising goal—but he remains hopeful. He encourages people to donate online to support his fundraising efforts. “It doesn’t have to be big. It’s what I keep telling people. If it means that you donate $20, great. If everyone had the space in their life to contribute a little bit, it would make a huge difference. Sometimes it feels daunting, but really organizations like Covenant House make it very easy. That’s their job.”
So what does Talbot expect from the actual experience of spending a night outside on the streets of Vancouver? “I’ve talked to other people who’ve said it’s a really humbling perspective-making experience. I’m not worried about being cold or not sleeping.” (Apparently unlike his mom, who is concerned about the cold and insisted on buying him some long underwear, which reminded him of how lucky he his is to have the support that homeless youth lack.) He concludes by saying: “I’m looking forward to the impact that it has on me. I’m not sure what that’s going to be yet.”
To help Todd Talbot in his efforts to support Covenant House and homeless youth, please visit his donation page.