What does it feel like to be homeless on the streets of Detroit?
Many a well-intentioned citizen talks about the tragedy … often sipping wine by a fire inside a home shielded from the elements without any real idea of what it’s like to live on the streets.
Action, not words, is needed. There are countless at-risk youths, aged 18-24, wandering the streets of metro Detroit, unsure of where they can find basic necessities like a warm bed, food and shelter, and someone who cares.
A group of young Detroit professionals is taking action to bring awareness to their plight and help raise funds to get them off the streets and into that warm bed.
On March 23, they’ll sleep on the street so homeless kids don’t have to. You’ll find them outside the Covenant House Michigan (CHM) at 2959 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. They’ll be in sleeping bags or cardboard boxes as part of the Sleep Out: Young Professional Edition Detroit.
It is all part of the Sleep Out Movement where advocates throughout the U.S. and Canada sleep outside for one night – at Covenant House sites as well as in private backyards, school grounds, and community spaces to make a difference.
The sleepers will also get a more in depth knowledge as they get a tour of the CHM and hear the stories of those they have helped.
Sleep Out is not about pretending to be homeless. “It’s about showing homeless youth unconditional love and absolute respect — demonstrating in word and action that you care about them,” the website says. “Through Sleep Out, you become an advocate for homeless youth and raise funds for the Covenant House programs that offer them the chance of an abundant life — away from the streets and out of harm’s way.”
Young professionals, ages 23-39, are encouraged to join them. Each “sleeper” has to raise at least $1,000 to participate.
Last year, the Detroit event took in $57,000. The goal this year is $60,000. As we write this, they had raised a little more than half that amount.
The need is great. According to the group, 3.5 million kids in America will face homelessness this year.
The money raised will go to combating the struggles these young people face daily like homelessness, unemployment, inadequate education, violence, drugs and gangs. The goal is to create a better, more hopeful path to the future for these young people.
Last year, more than 2,000 at-risk youths were helped by CHM, which provides a safe shelter and wrap-around services, including education and job training, so these young people can move forward to an adulthood free of poverty and the threat of homelessness.
To donate, please click here.