$170K OF FUNDING TO LEVERAGE $1 MILLION IN PROJECTS AIMED TOWARDS JOB CREATION FOR THE HOMELESS
March 18, 2016
Downtown Winnipeg – $170,000 raised from last year’s CEO Sleepout was invested today to support six Winnipeg social agencies – Artbeat Studio, Graffiti Art Programming, Macdonald Youth Services, Red Road Lodge, Siloam Mission, and Union Gospel Mission – in creating 71 jobs and 21,690 hours of employment for individuals experiencing homelessness or those as risk of becoming homeless. In 2016, these individuals will help beautify the downtown and in the process, gain valuable work experience, life skills and training, while building self-confidence and self-sufficiency.
Since 2011, nearly $800,000 has been raised by the private sector, helping to employ 137 people experiencing homelessness for more than 51,000 hours of employment — with many of these individuals returning to school or finding permanent full-time work. Today’s investment brings the number of participants supported by the CEO Sleepout to well over 200 individuals.
“Last fall, at Portage and Main, over 150 of the city’s movers and shakers camped out in the cold for the 5th annual CEO Sleepout, to raise funds and to get people talking about homelessness,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “We can make a better city and a better downtown by simply helping people who are homeless in a progressive way: providing a home and helping them keep it, providing support in dealing with their challenges, and creating meaningful jobs to become a part of the community.”
Brian Scharfstein, President of Canadian Footwear and a five-time CEO Sleepout participant, said: “Taking part in the CEO Sleepout is a sobering reminder of the realities happening in our city. Homelessness is part of our community make up. We need to embrace and be part of the solution. Everyone in the community needs to be aware and this is our opportunity as leaders to deliver the message.” Canadian Footwear announced their contribution of socks and toques to support individuals hired throughout the year, in addition to t-shirts for the CEO Sleepout planned on September 29, 2016.
“End Homelessness Winnipeg values the relationship it has with Downtown Winnipeg BIZ,” said Louis Sorin, President and CEO of End Homelessness Winnipeg. “Creating opportunities for employment for individuals who have experienced homelessness is a pathway towards health, social inclusion, and productive livelihoods. It brings purpose, meaning, and opportunity to individuals who have been challenged and living in the margins of our community. This initiative creates a pathway that contributes to ending homelessness.”
Artbeat Studio Inc. ($25,000) – 24 participants hired for 4,296 hours of employment
- Participants will manage a boutique gallery at Portage Place, an initiative that will provide career path development opportunities in vocational areas such as retail sales, customer service, education, and general gallery management. Participants are marginalized individuals who have lived experience of mental illness.
Graffiti Art Programming ($15,000) – 4 participants hired for 3,000 hours of employment
- Program will connect at risk youth with job shadowing or work placement opportunities within the downtown. In addition, youth will engage in hands-on, structured tasks involving dance, visual arts, community building, and beautification projects downtown.
Macdonald Youth Services ($20,000) – 16 participants hired for 3,600 hours of employment
- At risk youth will be provided hands-on job experience by connecting with businesses in the downtown.
Red Road Lodge ($45,000) – 13 participants hired for 3,360 hours of employment
- Participants will engage in cleaning and beautification projects on Main Street through litter removal and snow shoveling, in addition to community art projects with individuals living at Thunderbird House and Salvation Army. The program targets individuals on EIA Disability who face significant social and economic barriers.
Siloam Mission ($45,000) – 8 participants hired for 4,554 hours of employment
- Participants will engage in the beautification of downtown through litter removal, snow shoveling, and event/festival clean up, collectively walking over a thousand kilometers.
Union Gospel Mission ($20,000) – 6 participants hired for 2,880 hours of employment
- Participants will engage in downtown beautification and placemaking efforts by supporting set up for downtown events and festivals and upkeep of public space through placement of bistro tables/chairs in front of businesses, planting, litter pickup, and general maintenance.
About the CEO Sleepout
Since 2011, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has made a commitment to help address long-term social and economic costs of homelessness. Recently, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ organized its fifth annual CEO Sleepout in 2015 which recruited and mobilized over 150 leaders from the private and public sectors to help bring attention and awareness to the intricate and complex issue of homelessness in our city and downtown community. Over $170,000 was raised to support social agencies in their efforts to employ their participants and in providing them with quality-of-life supports and access to housing. This event also ignited a desire from the private/public sector to work together towards the creation of a long-term strategy to end homelessness through the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council’s (WPRC) Task Force to End Homelessness, co-chaired by SEED Winnipeg’s Cindy Coker and RBC’s Rob Johnston. A community entity, End Homelessness Winnipeg, has since been created to lead the implementation of the plan with Louis Sorin as CEO, a past CEO Sleepout participant.