Nelson takes steps to end homelessness Saturday

This Saturday, over 200 people will walk in Nelson together during the Coldest Night of the Year nationwide walk.

Stacy O’Brien and Dan Maclean busk on Baker St. They are raising money for this weekend’s Coldest Night of the Year walk.

Stacy O’Brien and Dan Maclean busk on Baker St. They are raising money for this weekend’s Coldest Night of the Year walk.

This Saturday, over 200 people will walk in Nelson together during the Coldest Night of the Year nationwide walk. The 2, 5 and 10 km walk provides participants the opportunity to experience a hint of the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness, while raising much-needed monetary donations for the local Nelson CARES’ Room to Live Campaign, a renewal project for affordable housing at Ward St. Place.

“We are days away from this year’s walk and you can feel the energy building as the community continues to get behind this,” said event co-ordinator Beth Seed. “We are grateful to have so many teams, volunteers and sponsors again this year. Over 100 cities are participating across Canada and we are so proud Nelson is one of them.”

As you stroll along Baker St., keep your eyes and ears open for a pair of buskers wearing matching toques and singing for change. Dan MacLean and Stacy O’Brien, a couple of this year’s walkers, are busking to raise money for the upcoming walk.

“It’s been fun and people have been kind and generous. We even had some little kids stop and dance, which is heart-warming when the sidewalk is your stage!” laughed O’Brien.

“When we were originally searching for a place to live in Nelson, it was the same month the Kerr apartment building burned down, which had a huge impact on the available housing options in town. So it’s obvious theRoom to Live campaign is meeting a pressing need in the community,” said MacLean.

The overall goal of the Room to Live Campaign is to raise $690,000 to complete the project. Ward St. Place is a 102-year-old building and is one of the only low-income housing blocks in the region. It is home to people living in poverty and those who have escaped homelessness. NCARES receives no public funding to operate the building and it serves the region’s most vulnerable citizens.

Over 30 teams are already registered for this year’s walk, but it’s not too late to get involved or make a donation.Get your family, friends and co-workers together, build a team or walk on your own. There is a $25 registration fee, but if you raise $150 or more, that fee is waived. All registered walkers receive a free toque. Visit coldestnightoftheyear.org/nelson to register or donate. Contact Beth Seed at beth@nelsoncares.ca or 250-551-5092 to get involved as a volunteer or sponsor.