The sleepout initiative called One Night Under the Stars 2 was held on December 5, 2020 as the central event of Depaul Croatia Advent fundraising campaign Homeless for One Night. This initiative was aimed at raising awareness about the problem of street homelessness and the goal of this event, which was held for the first time in Croatia in Rijeka last year, was to sensitise the public, show support, get to know and try to understand the problem of homelessness and provide effective assistance in resocialising street homeless people.
In the limited conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s outdoor sleep was organised in the backyard of Haven House, the Day Centre for the Homeless run by Depaul Croatia, where six volunteers slept. The TV presenter Larry Ambrozich and the president of the The Heart of Rijeka Association Dalibor Horvat, also participated in the program of the event, which began on Saturday, December 5, at 5 pm, preparing a delicious lunch, goulash and gnocchi. Sixty prepared portions were distributed the next day to the clients of Haven House for Sunday lunch. The program continued with the presentation of the activities of Depaul Croatia, introduction to Haven House programs, and testimonies of work and volunteering with the homeless. Participants, sleepers, then shared their personal stories of why they decided to spend the night under the stars. Particularly impressive is the testimony of one of the participants who, twelve years ago, was one step closer to homelessness with his three children. Aware that homelessness can happen to anyone, he decided to show at night that no one, in any situation, should be alone.
Respecting all epidemiological measures, with a stormy south wind and rain clouds, the participants went to bed in the yard of the House of Refuge at 10 pm. The joint awakening began on Sunday at 6 am, and the participants were greeted with breakfast in the House of Refuge by volunteer Biserka Selimović, who was named Volunteer of the Year in the Republic of Croatia.
A difficult, cold and sleepless night, a feeling of insecurity, new insights and many questions, a sense of gratitude, hope for a better tomorrow, a desire for effective help are just some of the impressions that the participants expressed the next morning. A part of the everyday life of street homeless people was experienced this year during the event One Night Under the Stars 2, an experience shared with others with the hope that public awareness of homelessness will be different at least shortly after this event and that effective ways to help in the complex process will emerge. homelessness and the realisation of the mission of Depaul Croatia: to take care of the homeless.