While most Calgarians stayed in their homes during the city’s early October cold spell, local musicians Brad Saunders and Joel Fraser opted to go homeless for 72 hours downtown.

Their goal was to raise money and awareness for the 3,500 people experiencing homelessness in our city, but they didn’t expect to experience such pain and discomfort.

“We had this planned for a couple months now, and we thought it would be a little cold but then it started snowing on Thanksgiving and we were like, uh oh, this is the real deal,” Fraser said.

While the duo said that it is nearly impossible to fully replicate what many people in our city go through, the pain they felt at night gave them a better understanding.

According to Sharon deBoer-Fyie, the director of development at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, on top of the 3,500 people in our city experiencing homelessness today, 16,000 people are very vulnerable.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation supports all of the homeless serving agencies in Calgary and are stewards of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. So far they have housed over 8,000 people.

DeBoer-Fyie deals with the big picture of homelessness, but she explained how small and individual efforts like Saunders and Fraser can still help.

“What they’re doing is a really creative way to talk about homelessness in a very different way and raise some money to support the work that we are doing here in Calgary. So it is really kind of exciting,” deBoer-Fyie said.

Overall, Saunders and Fraser raised $1,780 towards the Calgary Homeless Foundation through social media platforms and their GoFundMe account. Although it was a lot harder than they imagined, they have already thought about going again next year.


The editor responsilbe for this story is Brendan Stasiewich, bstasiewich@cjournal.ca

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