Interfaith Outreach’s Sleep Out Event Kicks Off Virtually on Nov. 12
It’s that time of the year when the temperature drops and tents go up across local communities. For 25 years, Plymouth-based Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners has invited people to its 8 week Sleep Out events. In past years, groups of people have slept in tents, boxes and cars.
“The purpose of this is to create some sense of empathy and awareness for choices that folks have to make in our community when they don’t have a stable place to live,” explained Lani Willis, Interfaith Outreach’s Advancement director.
Due to COVID-19 this year, most have opted to sleep in their own homes but volunteers still hope to raise awareness of sobering numbers.
“Last year we saw about 2,000 families at interfaith. 1 out of 7 of those families were experiencing crisis in homelessness,” explained Willis.
Willis said homelessness in the suburbs is often times very hidden. It doesn’t look like it does in downtown Minneapolis.
‘Those who are experiencing a crisis of homelessness in our area, many are doubled up. That means they are choosing to live with a family member or friend for time being. Some people are sleeping on couches or floors of their friends or neighbors,” she said.
With wages declining and rent increasing due to the pandemic, the homelessness gap has only intensified. The nonprofit has a goal to raise $2.6 million during its Sleep Out event this year.
- Click here to donate to those experiencing homelessness
“In this 25 year history, Sleep Out has prevented homelessness 34,281 times and that’s just rent assistance alone,” Willis said.
To celebrate the milestone, Sleep Out kicks off virtually Nov. 12th and will have eight weeks of safe and virtual ways to come together.
“Right now we’re experiencing all this stress around our politics and division, the sleep out has always been how we can come together and address our needs as a community together,” Willis said.