Chapter 4: What Difference Does A Year Make?
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Stefano Grande of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ to ask a few main questions. According to some of the feedback I’ve received people are critical that this is only a one night event. Check out this Free Press article from last week to see what people’s reactions are.
This was a great opportunity to learn from Stefano about what has happened. Before we got into the question, he discussed many things about the Downtown BIZ. He acknowledged that there are many ways to approach the issue of homelessness, and in a city like Winnipeg, we must be flexible, open minded and innovative. There are examples of Cities across North America that are ending homelessness through initiatives that focus on supportive housing and employment programming. The Downtown BIZ feels that they have a great relationship with the many facets of people that race our Down Town. When people are homeless, or challenged with under-employment, addictions, mental health or even simple hunger, the BIZ is committed to putting a human approach forward. The BIZ staff know these people, their names, circumstances and gifts.
the main point:
What has happened between last year and this year with the previous CEO participants?
- Directly, 3 groups have received the money that was raised last year () to hire people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The groups that have received funding being the Graffiti Art Gallery – Studio 393 & Siloam Mission. The important think though, is the FRAMEWORK that has been established can be applied to provide more funding to more groups, if more money is raised.
- The initiation of Private/Public partnerships has begun as a direct result of the connections made at last year’s sleepout. Special Guests have come to Winnipeg to speak to these groups and some have even met with elected officials municipally and provincially.
- Overall homelessness awareness is much improved. Last year before the CEO Sleepout, those 40 CEOs may not have realized they have an entire community of like minded and committed allies in this mission to help in as many ways as they can. This group of individuals have influence on various levels and are thinking very creatively on ways to get involved.
These are all excellent points and I appreciated Stefano’s feedback. He explained how they focus on employment, understanding there are successful initiatives like At Home/Chez Soi that are currently providing support to 250 individuals.
Thanks for everything Stefano!
Also, I had a super quick exchange with Jason Syvixay (@DownTownJason) and he shared these interesting factoids with all of us! There are many individuals and CEOs that are returning this year to support this initiative once more!
Participants that are returning for their 2nd year:
· Adam Topp
· Bill Crossman
· Brian Scharfstein
· Damon Johnston
· Diane Gray
· Floyd Perras
· Ian Gerbrandt
· Ivan Holloway
· Jenny Gerbasi
· Marina James
· Rob Johnston
· Shane Johnston
· Shane Storie
· Richard Cloutier
· Drew Kozub
Companies that had representatives Sleepout and took part last year and are returning:
· Health Sciences Centre
· Business Administration Students’ Association
· Guppy Graphic Design
· Canadian Footwear
· Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council
· Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg
· CentrePort Canada,
· Winnipeg Free Press
· Siloam Mission
· Darcy and Deacon
· City of Winnipeg
· University of Winnipeg
· Diversity Food Services
· Economic Development Winnipeg
· Modern Earth Web Design
· Royal Bank of Canada
· Dollar Wise Quality Cleaners
· SRS Signs & Service
· Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
And don’t forget tomorrow to hang out with Brian, Robert and MC as we spend an Extra Night Out tomorrow (Friday) night!