BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Imagine having to sleep and live outside during frigid winter months. Close to 150 people in Boulder deliberately did just that to demonstrate what homeless youth have to endure daily. The 8th Annual Sleep Out for Homeless Youth, hosted by Boulder nonprofit Attention Homes, made a powerful statement while raising awareness in the community. All participants slept outside in sleeping bags in downtown Boulder at First United Methodist Church.
Sleep Out participants arrived at the church on Thursday evening and enjoyed a simple meal provided by local restaurants. Then, they participated in a candlelight vigil honoring those who have lost their lives in the streets. Following the Sleep Out, sleepers were given a hot breakfast.
City leaders, including Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones, City Council members and Boulder County commissioners, also camped out in support.
“It’s a wonderful community, nonprofit support event that makes sure that we recognize what it’s like for kids who have to sleep out in the cold every night and for me this is one night of sacrifice, but I enjoy doing it to support a great organization — Attention Homes,” said John Tayer, President & CEO of the Boulder Chamber. He spoke to CBS4 from his sleeping bag at 6 a.m. on Friday.
Each sleeper pledged to raise $1,000 for Attention Homes through their own fundraising page, which is expected to bring in $150,000 to support Attention Homes’ homeless and runaway youth services. Attention Homes provides housing and supportive services for young people ages 12-24 experiencing homelessness or family disruption.
Attention Homes’ newest project, a 40-unit supportive housing complex for 18 to 24 year olds exiting homelessness, provided the backdrop for the event. It’s the first facility of its kind in Colorado.