B.C. Institute of Technology president Don Wright had a glimpse of what it's like to be homeless after spending Thursday night sleeping in a back alley in Vancouver.
Wright, along with 19 other CEOS, sports figures and local celebrities spent Thursday huddled in sleeping bags as part of The Sleep Out, a fundraiser for Covenant House, a Vancouver shelter for homeless youth.
"It was an incredible experience. It's just one of those things I was really happy I agreed to do," Wright said.
The evening started with the participants meeting youth receiving help from Covenant House.
"These were incredible stories, kids who were living out on the street and virtually had no hope," Wright said. "Someone connected them with Covenant House, and they were able to clean up their act."
Participants included Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi and a senior executive from TD Waterhouse - people likely accustomed to more affluent lifestyles.
"It all made it a little more real to us just how desperate a life people who don't have a home live. You know that theoretically, but to get even glimpse of what it mean to be sleeping out on the street every night, it was one of those wild experiences."
At press time, the fundraiser had garnered more than $264,510, which will go towards the organization's crisis shelter for youth aged 16 to 24.
Wright, who works out of BCIT's Burnaby campus, was left with a strengthened resolve to address homelessness.
"We need to do everything possible to get these people the tools to live a good life and a secure place to live," he said.