Sisters-in-law Heidi Routley of Vernon (left) and Kiley Routley of Lavington successfully slept outside Friday, July 10, to raise money and awareness for Covenant House Vancouver, a society that works with and for homeless youth. The pair lasted 12 hours with nothing more than a tent, piece of cardboard and small pillow, but raised nearly $2,400. (Photo contributed)

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Save for a noisy bird that wouldn’t stop chirping and singing, two North Okanagan women’s goal to bring awareness to youth homelessness was a success.

Coldstream’s Kiley Routley, and her sister-in-law, Heidi Routley, of Vernon, slept – well, slept a little – under the stars overnight Friday, July 10, to raise money and awareness for Covenant House in Vancouver.

“That bloody bird, I almost went out to have it out with them,” laughed Kiley Routley Sunday morning, 24 hours after she and Heidi spent 12 rather sleepless hours in a tent behind Kiley’s Back To Earth organic shop production facility beside Highway 6 in Lavington.

The pair voluntarily gave up the comforts of their own beds to take part in Covenant House’s Sleep Out. Covenant House exists for young people for whom there is often no one else; young people aged 16 – 24 who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, those who have been forced from their homes or those who have aged out of foster care.

The Routleys raised $2,390 which will go toward helping counsel 10-to-12 youth who have no homes.

Friday evening started with a Zoom presentation from Covenant House with everybody participating in the Sleep Out. At about 9 p.m., the sisters-in-law entered their tent – many homeless youth sleep on the streets in tents as it’s the only thing they own – and got into their sleeping bags, and tried to sleep in the bags which were atop pieces of cardboard.

Along with the bird, the women were also kept awake by vehicles honking support, vehicles racing by the shop on Highway 6 throughout the evening and morning, the nearby lumber mill and pellet plant in operation, and by the thoughts of B.C. youth in every community sleeping on the streets night after night.

“After one night, we were exhausted, yet there’s youth who do this night after night, and you feel how that would break a person down and not feel totally loved,” said Kiley.

“It was an incredible, humbling experience. We were excited to bring awareness to homelessness. It’s a reality in every community.”

The pair exited the tent at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“We both went home to sleep,” said Kiley. “We were wrecked emotionally.”

Still, the Routleys called the Sleep Out a great experience, though admitted to feeling nervous about not being in their bedrooms.

“We thought about the people living in tents on the street and people coming into their tents and stealing their belongings,” said Kiley.

The pair are thinking about organizing a local Sleep Out event, possibly to be held in Vernon.

Covenant House relies on the generosity of more than 55,000 individuals and organizations to provide shelter, food, clothing and counselling to over 1,100 youth each year.

READ MORE: North Okanagan relatives to sleep outside for homeless youth



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

charityHomelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Vernon business restores faith in humanity for houseboat fire victims

Community kindness leaves out-of-province father in tears of appreciation

WATCH: Lavington man chains himself to tree as crews clear space for child care centre

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

Rogers initiative ‘Step Up to the Plate’ to help Central Okanagan Food Banks

The initiative will deliver food hampers that will provide more than 1,343,000 meals for local food banks

British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

Single mom struggles as supplement was her saving grace

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read