Sleep Out: Champions Edition — Meet Ronan

In the bustling streets of Metro Vancouver, a harsh reality shadows the city’s glittering skyline: between 500 to 1,000 young people face each night without a safe place to sleep. These youth, each with their own story, dreams, and aspirations, find hope in the caring embrace of Covenant House Vancouver.

Sleep Out: Champions Edition isn’t just an event — it’s a movement fuelled by compassion and advocacy. It brings together a diverse community of professionals, organizations, influencers, and individuals who are willing to forgo the comfort of their beds for one night. Their sacrifice ensures that the young people at Covenant House have a secure place to rest, and offers a beacon of hope in the darkness of homelessness.

Meet Ronan Deane

By participating in Sleep Out, we stand in solidarity with those facing homelessness and raise awareness about the growing number of youth who experience this plight. This year marks a significant milestone as passionate advocates from the community have come together to form the Sleep Out Cabinet. This collective aims to leverage their resources to inspire others to join the movement, and to amplify its impact and reach. 

Today, we have the privilege of introducing Ronan Deane, who is part of the Sleep Out Cabinet. Ronan shares his personal experiences, motivations, and insights into the transformative power of Sleep Out. 

How did you find out about Sleep Out?

I had a positive experience carol singing with the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club, in 2013. All proceeds were donated to Covenant House. I regularly run through the Downtown Eastside. I felt powerless when I saw the magnitude of people who were experiencing homelessness. Visiting Covenant House Vancouver gave me a sense of a well-organized group, who focused specifically on supporting one key group within that vast population. The focus and targeted nature of Covenant House’s Outreach impressed me.

 Why did you join Sleep Out?

I successfully raised funds for Covenant House, for a number of years, through trail and triathlon racing.  When I moved to a business development role with my employer, I believed that I could access more potential donors thorough Sleep Out: Executive Edition and leverage my employer’s corporate social responsibility and my influence in the local construction industry.

 Can you share a memory from a Sleep Out? It could be something you learned, an epiphany, a heart-warming moment, the Sleep Out experience and how that impacted you, or something that stuck with you from the panel session that included youth sharing their experiences.

My first Sleep Out was very memorable because I had no idea about the discomfort and the hopelessness that homeless people experience. It is safe to say, that I still don’t comprehend it, but I have a small appreciation for their pain and anguish. During each Sleep Out, we meet more youth who have been through CHV’s programs, and hearing these stories inspires me to continue, and further confirms the value that CHV provides.

 Why did you join the Sleep Out Cabinet?

I was asked and I wanted to help in any way I could. If you’ve ever met me, you’d know that I do proclaim the benefits of Covenant House Vancouver and I encourage people to Sleep Out and challenge themselves to take one night away from their beds.

Why is the Sleep Out event important?

Rarely does a charity provide the donor an opportunity to “walk in the shoes” of the people that the charity serves. CHV has made it a fun, uncomfortable, and educational experience, that will live with you for the rest of your life.

Why are organizations, like Covenant House, important to have in the community?

As humans, we must care for others in our community. If we engage in supporting a local charity, we demonstrate that we care.

In construction circles, current statistics suggest to me that a fair percentage of the young people that are working at our Lower Mainland construction sites are battling with the high cost of living, and are either homeless or one pay cheque away from being homeless. Covenant House is most likely supporting people who work on, or will work on, one of our sites.

Why should other business leaders get involved with this cause?

In business, we want to see effective use of money and when we engage in our communities, we want to know that the money we raise is put to good use. I love how Covenant House has been laser focused on what it can and cannot do. It has made CHV very effective at creating positive results that tackle a daunting crisis. Money donated to CHV is put to good use.

We are thrilled to announce that Vancouver International Airport (YVR), an incredible supporter of CHV is supporting Sleep Out in a big way. They’ve coordinated a team of 10 individuals who will advocate, fundraise, and participate in Sleep Out alongside us. Furthermore, YVR has committed to match all funds donated between February 15–29, up to $50,000. This generous support demonstrates the collective effort needed to address youth homelessness and underscores the impact that we can make when we come together as a community.

Ronan’s friend Nigel is sleeping out with Team Impact, if you’d like to support a team. Regardless of whether you support a team or the Sleep Out: Champions Edition cause itself, your donations will be matched by YVR.

Thank you for your support of vulnerable youth in the community. 🙏