Mental Health week is coming to a close but the fight remains to spread awareness on the issues. In its final effort to allow individuals the opportunity to understand and relate, the Welcome Resource Centre along with the Mental Health Organization and the Ministry of Health have organized an event, “Homeless for a Night,” inviting Belizeans to spend a night in solidarity and experience what it’s like sleeping on the streets within our country. Joyce Ellis, Administrator for the Welcome Resource Centre and the organizer for the event explained her idea behind the event, stating that few persons without a home will be at the event as well.
Joyce Ellis Administrator, Welcome Resource Center: “We are embarking on a first of its kind, a night of being homeless. We want you to know how it feels to be homeless, we don’t want you to be sorry for the individual, we want to empathize with them, put yourself in their shoes. For me I like to think out the box so I wanted to do something different, a signature event that even if I am not here someone else could continue doing this event so I chose this event because it highlights the population that I serve.
Ellis also explained the event’s theme, “Sleep it out, Homeless for a Night, Feel it and Know it!” represents, while expressing her hope, that all attendees, walk away with an air of appreciation for what they have.
Joyce Ellis Administrator, Welcome Resource Center: “Feel it means you know what it feels like a little you know what the participants go through, it’s the awareness and I want you to know that people don’t choose to be homeless. It has to be a condition, some situation had to occur for people to decide that you know what circumstances cause them to be where they are at but like I say the resource center is a place where we offer second chances. It’s just a drop in, its not a place to sleep, its a place where you can come and call your home during the day time. What I want people to walk away with is appreciation and of course the sense of belonging, you belong to a family, you have a home, you have things to look forward to, you know where you will get that next meal from. The population that I serve don’t have these things.
The event starts at 6 pm tomorrow night at the memorial Park in Belize City and ends at 6 am the following morning. Being a fundraising event, T-shirts are being sold for $25 which covers the the registration fee for the night and for those who wishes to attend without purchasing a shirt, the fee is ten dollars at the entrance.