After a year’s hiatus, the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) returns to Cranbrook on Feb. 22 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with registration open now.
In 2017 and 2018, the event, which is run by the Blue Sea Foundation out of Ontario, was managed locally by Cranbrook’s Homeless Outreach and Homeless Prevention Centre. There wasn’t a walk in 2019. but this year it will be spearheaded by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kootenays.
READ MORE: CNOY 2018
Arielle Dyment, manager of public education with CMHA, said that her organization saw an article for a CNOY event in another city which piqued their interest.
“We were like, ‘oh this event didn’t occur last year maybe it’s something that we could revive because there was a lot of success in the community for it previously,” Dyment said.
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Dyment said they quickly contacted the Blue Sea Foundation and got on board right away. She said CMHA Kootenay were motivated to get involved due to their awareness of the shortage of affordable housing in Cranbrook.
“We know that there’s a housing crisis in Cranbrook,” Dyment said. “I think the rental rate is really low, it’s at near zero per cent, so we really wanted to get behind that because this is real for people in Cranbrook. And we see it.”
CMHA runs the Kootenay Haven Women’s Transition house for women and children fleeing violent situations. Dyment said that they have problems finding a new living situation for these women and children due to the housing shortage.
“Also we have subsidized housing that CMHA owns,” she added, “so that’s a big part of what we do here so our plan is to use some of the funds to help expand that and also we’re donating proceeds to the Cranbrook Salvation Army when the event has concluded.”
All in all Dyment said they aim to raise $20,000 from Feb. 22’s CNOY event in Cranbrook. That money will be used to support the Kootenay Haven Women’s Transition House, some will go to subsidizing housing and a portion will go to the Cranbrook Salvation Army.
“For us, it’s just to expand our programs and expand our reach with people that are struggling to find housing here.”
She said that there are three ways people can participate in the event.
For one, they’re asking businesses to sponsor the event and their are different tiers of sponsorship available. Two, they’re seeking people to actually walk in the event. Walkers can either be a part of a team of their own or join the CMHA team. Finally, they are seeking volunteers.
“They can come on event day, register as a volunteer, and there’s a lot of different roles we need covered, ranging from helping out at registration to actually being on the route itself and helping direct traffic that way,” Dyment said.
Registration opens at 4 p.m. followed by opening ceremonies at 5 and the walk beginning at 5:15, kicking off at the Day’s Inn and walking into downtown Cranbrook. They’re still working out the location for their second stop, but the first will be at the Heidout. There are either two or five kilometre walks.
To register or get more information, including information about the walk’s route, visit www.cnoy.org/location/cranbrook. They currently have raised over $5,000 of their $20,000 goal.