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About 5 Days for the Homeless

History of the 5 Days Campaign

5 Days for the Homeless was founded at the University of Alberta’s School of Business in 2005. The students identified homelessness as a growing issue and wanted to give back to the community. The trio would give up creature comforts and basic necessities for five days to raise money and awareness for the Youth Emergency Shelter Society (YESS), a local charity.There were no expectations in the first year; the event had a very grassroots feel to it and everything was done with little or no budget. They thought they might be able to raise $500 or $1,000 and they were fine with that. Overall the event was a success and by the end of the first year the trio had developed a new found respect for the disparity that homeless individuals face every day. Approximately $2,000 was raised for YESS, twice what was originally expected. An effective campaign was born.

2005
5 Days for the homeless is founded at the University of Alberta
Total Raised to Date:
$2,000
2008
5 Days for the homeless goes national and is picked up by 10 Canadian universities
Total Raised to Date:
$164,387
2009
18 schools across Canada take part and one school is joined by Guest Sleeper Justin Trudeau
Total Raised to Date:
$338,879
2011
Now at 22 schools across Canada and raises $225,524 nationally for the year
Total Raised to Date:
$747,192
2013
5 Days for the Homeless surpasses $1 million raised for Canadian homeless shelters
Total Raised to Date:
$1,223,794
2014
5 Days for the homeless is now at 26 schools across Canada
Total Raised to Date:
$1,462,500

Campaign Rules

During the 5 day campaign, students from across the country will be making personal sacrifices for the betterment of their community. Students will forgo their comforts and live outside on campus for five full days no matter what the temperature.

Participants will:

  1. Remain on campus for five days. The campaign begins 5pm local time on the Sunday of the campaign week and ends at 5pm local time on the Friday.
  2. Have no income. 100% of the funds donated to individual campaigns are passed on to their choice of local homeless youth organization.
  3. Have no food or drinks. Food can only be received through direct donations, and all non-perishable food must be kept and used as a donation for a shelter.
  4. Have only a pillow and a sleeping bag. These items can be exchanged for an emergency meal.
  5. Have no access to showers, or facilities to which their student status would usually grant them access. Washrooms can only be accessed when campus buildings are open.
  6. Sleep outside. The only exception is if inclement weather becomes a health risk.
  7. Attend all classes. Participants will complete all academic and extra curricular responsibilities, including student organizations and teaching positions.
  8. Avoid personal communication media. Participants will be expected to not use cell phone or online social networking websites (Facebook, etc) during the Five Days campaign except for the purposes of promoting the campaign. Each region is required to have at least one cell phone for safety purposes.
  9. Write about or film their experiences. Participants’ experiences will be posted on an online blog available on www.5days.ca.

Participating Schools