WINNIPEG – More than 130 community leaders, CEO’s and media spent the night at Portage and Main to raise funds and bring awareness to Winnipeg’s homeless.
For five years, the Downtown BIZ has brought dozens of people together for the annual CEO Sleepout. Since the event began it has raised more than $750,000 to help create employment for Winnipeg’s homeless and put funds towards programming.
Money raised throughout the years has gone towards employing 137 people for more than 51,000 hours of employment. Many of these individuals have either returned to school or have been able to find permanent full-time work.
50-year-old Jamie Hogaboam is one of those people.
Hogaboam has been homeless for nearly a year. He went from having a home and a career to sleeping on the streets.
“The first day I sat out here with a sign that says I have mental health issues can you help me out and I felt really ashamed,” said Hogaboam.
Now he paints and sells his artwork at Upbeat Artworks in Portage Place mall. The studio was one of the recipients of funds from a past sleepout and has been able to teach and employ some of the city’s less fortunate.
The event also aims to start important conversations among participating community leaders and media.
Organizations such as Lunches with Love and Callie’s Backpacks for Winnipeg’s homeless were also part of the event, sharing their ideas about making the city a better place for everyone.
Each participant also received a tour throughout downtown led by those who have lived on the streets.
Participants learned more about Siloam Mission, Red Road Lodge and the Main St. Project. The Main St. Project serves 500 meals every single day. Right now they are having to light the commercial stove with a paper towel because it broke down and they don’t have the funds to buy a new one.
By Friday morning, more than $163,000 had been raised at this year’s event. The goal is to have $200,000 which will go toward opportunities for people in need.
Donations can be made year round.
WATCH: Global’s Brittany Greenslade at the 5th annual CEO Sleepout