Stay In + Sleep Out campaign takes aim at the impact of COVID-19 on the city’s homeless

The world is struggling through a global pandemic, in which a lot of people are both financially and emotionally drained.

While I’m one of the lucky ones, who’s still working, have a roof over my head, and have so much to be grateful for, that simply is not the case for many. That’s where Covenant House comes in.

Photo by Taufiq Klinkenborg

For nearly forty years, Covenant House Toronto has maintained a steadfast dedication to its mission: supporting the vulnerable youth who come through their doors. Covenant House helps youth ignite their potential and reclaim their lives. As Canada’s largest agency serving youth who are homeless, trafficked, or at risk, they offer the widest range of 24-7 services to about 300 young people each day. Since 1982, Covenant House has supported more than 95,000 young people.

Covenant House Toronto launches Stay In + Sleep Out, a large virtual gathering in support of youth who are homeless and trafficked. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the campaign is going virtual for the first time, but the goal remains the same – raising awareness and funds to support vulnerable youth in the community.

On June 26, residents of the GTA are invited to participate in Covenant House’s first-ever Stay In + Sleep Out virtual fundraiser. Torontonians will be able to pledge to sleep out in their yard or on their balcony. All supporters, whether they sleep out or not, are encouraged to place a pillow on their porch or outside their front door to show unity with those across the city who are supporting the Covenant House Sleep Out.

“Our past sleep outs have given participants a small glimpse of the challenges youth can face on the street,” says Mark Aston, Executive Director of Covenant House Toronto. “While this year’s event won’t be quite the same as others, we hope to see our community come together to pledge their support so we can continue to make a difference in the lives of the youth we serve.”

The Sleep Out events have become Covenant House’s most significant fundraising initiatives, bringing in over $2.1 million last year alone and more than $8 million to date.

During COVID-19, Covenant House remains open 24-7 serving more than 300 youth a day. Their front line staff are working around the clock to keep youth experiencing homelessness and victims of sex trafficking healthy and safe during this pandemic. They continue to provide food, shelter, medical care, counselling, and more–but they can’t do this without your help.


How to get involved


Here’s how you can participate in this year’s virtual Sleep Out:

  1. Pledge to sleep out for those who have no choice and share your reason for sleeping out by using the hashtag #ISleepOutFor

  2. Raise funds and awareness by sharing your pledge to sleep out with friends and family to gain support for Covenant House

  3. Join us virtually on Friday, June 26 for a night of programming involving special guests and staff and youth from Covenant House

  4. Place a pillow outside your door to raise awareness for youth affected by homelessness.


Visit to register to pledge this year’s Sleep Out.

Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!