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$24 to live for a week: Operation Come Home's challenge to raise money, awareness for homeless youth

Usually OCM would have participants living on the streets for 24 hours to raise awareness and money for homeless youth, but COVID forced the organization to rethink its event.

Typically at this time of year, anyone passing by the corner of Bank and Gloucester streets would find a group of folks huddled up for warmth for 24 hours in an effort to raise money for Ottawa’s homeless.

However, because of COVID-19 restrictions in the city, the Operation Come Home event has had to shift the way it will raise money for the 2021 event.

Instead, starting February 1-7, 22 participants in the event are going to try the $24 Challenge.

During that week, participants will highlight food insecurity in the city and the high cost of poverty by living off of just $24 worth of food for the week.

Operation Come Home is a drop-in and resource centre for homeless youth in the city. It’s a place where those 16 years old and up can access food, schooling, employment assistance, mental health help and addictions counselling, among other programs.

Their mission is to make sure homeless youth do not become homeless adults.

For the last 17 years, OCH has held the 24 Hours for Homelessness at this time, where participants spent a full 24 hours on the street.

This year, they decided to bring back the $24 Challenge for the first time since 2015, as a way to raise money for Ottawa’s homeless youth during the vulnerable time.

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