The numbers are jolting, and many people just aren’t aware this is happening. In 2016, nearly 1,500 homeless youth sought shelter in Franklin County (over 900 18 – 24 year olds in the adult shelter system and 520 minors at Huckleberry House). In 2017, 532 teens found shelter at Huckleberry House.
Now, in a unique event just a few months away, 50 people will sleep outside at COSI on April 20th to raise money and awareness of homeless young people in Columbus’ metro area. 28 people have signed up to sleep outside—we need your help getting the word out to secure the final 22 slots available for SLEEP OUT!
SLEEP OUT! Columbus will take place at COSI, rain or shine, cold or warm. Among the 28 people already signed up to spend the night outside is Aly Terrell of Columbus. She said she joined the SLEEP OUT! to bring awareness to the issues homeless youth face and the excellent work that the Huck House is doing to help them.
“When a Huck House board member asked me if I wanted to sleep outside in downtown Columbus in April, my first thought was, ‘that sounds awful,’” Terrell said. “And then I thought, that is exactly why I should do it. Young people who are homeless or unable to live at home are likely in that circumstance through no fault of their own.”
Participants are invited to sign up as individuals, or as "teams" to sleep out together. Upon registration, participants create a fundraising webpage so they can ask people to sponsor them, much like marathoners do.
The Huck House SLEEP OUT! committee is planning a somber event. For example, to emphasize the reality faced by so many youth, participants will be asked to leave their tents and air mattresses at home. Instead, Huckleberry House will provide one large event tent and the SLEEP OUT! will take place rain or shine, warm temperatures or cold.
Huckleberry House has planned some conversation areas with discussion prompts to encourage participants to think about various relevant issues together, and a video reflection booth to capture these reactions and conversations in real-time.
"We hope that supporters who come to sleep out on April 20th will leave the next morning with a deeper sense of connection to the issue of youth homelessness," Development Director Sonya Thesing says. "We hope they will have a stronger feeling of empathy and motivation to help, and a better understanding of the issue so they can be strong ambassadors in the community."
About Huckleberry House