By Lisa Gervais

Places for People (P4P) may have cancelled Sleeping in Cars March 27, but that isn’t stopping Sylvia Claridge and Val Jarvis from over-nighting in Val’s driveway Friday night.

The two want to make good on the considerable pledges they received for the fundraiser and raise awareness of homelessness.

P4P launched Sleeping in Cars last year and was scheduled to hold its second annual event this year when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing the cancellation.

However, Claridge, who is 79, says, “we want people to know we are actually doing it, not just saying we did.”

She said her husband has joked with her, “don’t forget to park your cars six feet away from each other.”

Claridge, 79, said it’s an important cause. She said she knows people, including retirees, who are struggling to find a home in Haliburton County. She said waiting lists are long. A few years ago, she and her husband let some people live in a tent in their backyard when they could not find affordable housing.

They also fostered for 40 years, so know quite a bit about youth being displaced from homes. She said she still keeps in touch with some of them. One was palliative when they took him in, but today he is alive and well and working in Ottawa.

“I think its important. As a community, we are beginning to look at homelessness,” she said.

Claridge worries about homeless people during the pandemic, wondering where they go to self-isolate.

Fay Martin of P4P, said, “I do think COVID-19 underlines the importance of housing for well-being.”

Martin added the organization is now discussing its major annual fundraiser, the Highland Yard, but has put off making a decision until April 19.

Meanwhile, they hope to bring Sleeping in Cars back in 2021.

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