Dozens of business and community leaders from Steinbach will spend Thursday night sleeping under the stars. The third annual CEO Sleepout takes place at KR Barkman Park as a fundraiser for Today House, a non-profit overnight emergency temporary shelter for those who are homeless or street involved.
Today House Chair Simone Penner says the goal of the Sleepout is to raise money and awareness.
"Homelessness in Steinbach is not a visible issue," she says. "It's very hidden."
Board member Dr. Curtis Krahn notes this hidden homelessness is a result of a whole bunch of issues.
"We have a lot of issues with poverty, with mental health issues, broken relationships, all those sorts of things and very often the homelessness that we see is a very temporary homelessness," notes Dr. Krahn. "It's not the chronic homelessness that you see in other places."
He says a person could find themselves without a home because of a few bad decisions, which may result in being kicked out of the house, or losing a job.
"That can very quickly de-escalate and you go downhill quickly and it becomes a cycle of poverty," he says. "And if there are no options for them, then the option is the street and that's just going nowhere fast. The point is to try to intervene early."
The CEO Sleepout runs from 7pm to 7am. Dr. Krahn says they deliberately chose this time of year to run the event in order that the overnight experience could be chilly. He adds as the days start getting colder and the snow starts to fly, people start getting a little more desperate.
Today House does not receive government funding. The CEO Sleepout is the main fundraiser of the year for Today House and the goal is to raise $50,000.