Sleeping out at Georgia and Thurlow

On October 6th a group of folks from the Citywide Housing Coalition had a sleep out at Georgia and Thurlow Downtown.  We chose the site in front of the building that houses the government’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.  This is the agency that’s responsible, or was responsible and should be responsible, for providing federal funding to build social housing.

We wanted to make a statement before the federal election that the federal government should be spending at least another 1% of its total budget on social housing so we could end homelessness.

We had a great group of people, some homeless and some more middle class people with housing, and we got some media attention for our efforts, including a great picture of Robert Milton in the Globe and Mail.

But what I really wanted to say is what I learned that night:  sleeping out in the middle of a city sucks.  It’s not at all like camping.  Although it was a miserable, rainy night, I slept in a nice tent with an air mattress and cosy sleeping bag.

Ricky, Robert and others cheer up the desolate downtown with a jam at the squat.
Ricky, Robert and others cheer up the desolate downtown with a jam at the squat.

Wendy and our Member of Parliament, Libby Davies negotiated with the police so that they wouldn’t kick us out.  The cops even erected a sort of barrier to protect us!  And a security guard helped me put up my tent!  But I didn’t sleep even one wink.  Just tossed and turned.  I think it was not having walls around me, although it was really noisy too.  It took 4 days for my body to return to its normal self and I have a nice warm bed in a co-op to go to.  So, hey, let’s keep working so everyone has a nice warm home to live in and doesn’t have to sleep out. ~JS