Long Night of Hope raises $17K in North Vancouver

There’s reason to hope.

Just like last year, a group of volunteers with rose-coloured glasses and bleary eyes woke up in cars, church pews and under the piano of St. John’s Anglican Church just off Chesterfield Avenue.

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They’d spent Feb. 24 searching for Mr. Sandman in the hopes they might spur donations that would benefit the Lookout Society’s homeless shelter.

But when the sun came up and the money was counted, they found they’d smashed last year’s total of $10,400. At press time, the team had raised $17,880, “astonishingly close” to hitting their goal of $20,000, organizer Donna Lawrence noted.

The event attracted more volunteers, including North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma, who touted the event in the B.C. legislature.

“I’m privileged enough to be able to choose to spend only one night without a home,” Ma said.

The most recent report from the North Shore Homelessness Task Force found 736 homeless people on the North Shore in 2016, as well as 295 residents at imminent risk of homelessness.

Ma focused on that group, noting the families who “hang on the precipice of homelessness.”

“Some people, particularly women, will put themselves in dangerous or precarious situations just to stay out of the cold,” she said.

Ma’s one-woman team, MLA In a Hatchback for a Good Cause has so far raised more than $4,000.

Alison Brookfield has raised $2,450, Brenda Stenson has chipped in with $2,110 and Lawrence has raised $1,705.

Lawrence’s plan to raise $20,000 was to utilize social media and to hopefully attract more volunteers.

“We don’t want people to think that it’s just for St. John’s people,” she said. “It’s for anybody who’s concerned about what’s going on in the world.”

Speaking to the North Shore News in 2017, Lookout Emergency Aid Society North Shore shelter manager Bailey Mumford discussed the families, women, seniors and young people increasingly turned away from the shelter.

“Turn-aways are definitely on the rise … that’s just because of a lack of affordable housing stock right across the board for all demographics on the North Shore,” he said.

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