#LongestNightPeel Champions: Daniele Zanotti is no stranger to leading change in the community
It’s that time of year again – on Friday, February 9, 2018, hundreds of change-makers in Peel Region will be sleeping in their cars.
More than 230,000 people in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga are struggling to afford basic needs like food, housing, and transportation. And too many people in our community end up having to call their car their home. #LongestNightPeel invites everyone in our community to sleep in their cars to raise awareness and funds to fight poverty and homelessness in Peel Region.
Anyone can participate in #LongestNightPeel! However, a few high profile individuals in our community have signed up to participate in the event and lead the fundraising initiative. Leading up to February 9, our blog will feature those individuals who have committed to raising $5,000 through their personal and professional network.
Meet Daniele Zanotti, the President and CEO of United Way Toronto & York Region! This change-maker is an incredible community leader with more than 20 years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors, and he will indeed be sleeping in his car on February 9.
Daniele is dedicated to United Way’s mission to eradicate poverty, and he hopes to inspire other community leaders to join the fight against poverty.
Here’s what he has to say as #LongestNightPeel approaches:
“This year’s record-breaking cold-snap forced our region to take a hard look at the homelessness crisis in this region. The lack of beds and supports is a difficult reality to face. For most of us, living with homelessness is unimaginable, and the health risks people experience because of the cold and no shelter are unthinkable.
And we know, individuals living with homelessness experience this crisis in many different ways. We know that homelessness looks different in Toronto versus the 905 where much of it is hidden and individuals are couch-surfing or living in their cars.
This is just one of the reasons I accepted the challenge of The Longest Night – a challenge to spend the night alone in my car in the dead of winter. Because we know that no matter how homelessness plays out in different cities and towns across our region, we all need to do more to address to raise awareness and work towards solutions.
We know too that while spending the night in a car will not bring an end to homelessness, it will shine a light on this serious issue. It will remind all of us that we need to continue working together to create solutions that work for everyone. Whether it’s advocating for a portable housing benefit, working towards income security or increasing community supports, all this and more needs to be done.
And we know that we all need to work together more closely because we know that issues like homelessness have no boundaries. That’s one of the reasons, we’re combining forces. As a merged entity, United Way Toronto & York Region and United Way Peel will be able to harness our expertise — our frontline community experience, research and advocacy work, fundraising capability, and partnerships — all to engage people from all walks of life to create the kind of strong communities that make our region great.”
Thank you for creating possibility in our community, Daniele!
Just like Daniele, you can take the pledge to sleep in your car on Febraury 9 for #LongestNightPeel. Join us in raising awareness and funds to fight poverty and homelessness in Peel Region.
For more information, click here.
Cover photo courtesy of the Toronto Star