St. Louis executives sleep outside to raise awareness for homeless youth

Missouri

ST. LOUIS — Temperatures are anticipated to dip below freezing Thursday night, but that isn’t stopping 70 St. Louis area executives from sleeping outside. The annual Covenant House Missouri’s Annual Executive Sleepout raises awareness for youth facing homelessness in the St. Louis area.

“These individuals give up their beds for one night so that our young people that we serve don’t have to sleep out on the streets,” Colleen Daum, Covenant House Missouri’s Chief advancement and advocacy officer.

The organization serves people, ages 16 to 24, who are at-risk of homelessness and gives them a safe place to call home while supporting their education, health, and employment. 

This year, the executives are sleeping on cardboard with sleeping bags on Harris Stowe State University’s Soccer field.

 “It’s making sure that they gain a new perspective of what life could be like for someone sleeping on the streets, so that when they know more they can go out in their community and do more,” Daum said. “It is chilly, it’s going to be cold but they are taking on the challenge of making sure that they are getting a full experience of what some of the young people in our community are experiencing.”

Daum said there are an estimated 1,000 young people who sleep outside in the St. Louis area. The money executives raise to support their annual sleep out helps Covenant House Missouri bring the number of young people without a roof down.

“There’s not a zip code in St. Louis where there’s not a homeless youth,” said Nicolas Bowens. “So each and every day, there’s someone sleeping outside like I did, sleeping in allies. So, this night raises a lot of awareness.”

He benefitted from the Covenant House as a teen. He said he found the number on Google and called. He stayed at the Covenant House Missouri for about two years, then he was able to go out on his own and create a successful real estate business.

Before the event started the event had raised $400,000.

The national organization, Covenant House, is also hosting this event virtually.

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