More than $300K raised for ‘Sleep Out to End Youth Homelessness’

More than $300K raised for ‘Sleep Out to End Youth Homelessness’
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 5:53 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Each year, Covenant House Alaska holds its “Sleep Out to End Youth Homelessness,” meant to bring the community together and support homeless youth.

The event is part of a global movement to end youth homelessness. The idea behind it is for participants to give up their bed for one night to help raise awareness of a critical issue — especially here in Alaska — and ensure that every young person has a safe place to sleep for the night.

Covenant House of Alaska works to address the root causes of homelessness and shine a light on the youth homelessness crisis. The group also raises funds during the night which directly translates to care for those youth overcoming homelessness.

“November across the U.S. is actually National Youth Homeless Awareness Month, and that’s a part of the reason that we’re here and the part of the reason why we do it in November,” Alison Kear, CEO of Covenant House Alaska, said.

Several people who committed to sleeping outside Thursday night set up their spaces — tents, or even cardboard boxes — to get a taste of what it’s like to stay on the streets in Alaska’s harsh cold.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘Man, this is kind of what this is all about,’ for this time, to remember that young people in the streets are uncomfortable all the time,” Heidi Huppert, Chief Program Officer at Covenant House, said.

Before the night outdoors, everyone gathered together, lighting candles and remembering the many young Alaskans who died while homeless.

“At Covenant House, 40% of the young people we serve have some type of disabling condition that is a barrier to housing,” Kear said. “LGBTQ+ youth makes up 7% of the total U.S. population, while they comprise 40% of the young people experiencing homelessness. Nearly 25% of the young people at Covenant House are survivors of human trafficking.”

It’s all part of Covenant House Alaska’s goal to one day end youth homelessness completely.