One out of every 147 New Yorkers is currently homeless.
In a city with a population of 8.5 million people, each night over 58,000 men, women, and children sleep in homeless shelters with at least 3,100 who sleep on the streets and in the subway, even during the winter months.
One of these shelters where homeless men and women take refuge is Covenant House; founded over 40 years ago, its mission is to help the young people ages 16 to 21 who are living on the street by providing shelter, food, essential services and immediate crisis care in over 27 cities across the United States extending into Canada and Latin America.
In order to finance its efforts and further help youth in need – it costs about $1,000 to get a homeless youth off the street – Covenant House also holds several different ‘sleep outs’ in various cities throughout the United States with the slogan, “Sleep outside… so homeless youth don’t have to.” Sleep outs – much like dance marathons or team relay events – raise money through awareness and fundraising at the start of the event, culminating in a sleep out where participants spend a night sleeping on the street. These sleep outs provide an opportunity for professionals and students to immerse themselves in some of the problems faced every day by homeless youth in America and allow them to become part of the solution.
There are several different sleep out events that occur, each targeted towards a different industry or particular group: Executive Edition, Young Professional Edition, Mothers Edition, Corporate and Industry Edition, Broadway Edition, and Student Edition. One of the subcategories of the Corporate and Industry Edition is the New York Real Estate Executive Sleep Out, founded by a group who stands firmly behind the Covenant House Mission to provide shelter and safety for homeless youths.
In October 2014, about 100 real estate executives took to the streets of New York for the first-ever Real Estate Executive Sleep Out. The event was so successful, raising more than double its goal of $100,000 (they raised $216,000), that another sleep out for 2015 was booked just days after the event took place; the 2015 Sleep Out went on to raise over $360,000. The third Real Estate Executive Sleep Out is scheduled to take place on September 29, 2016. All participants must have a connection to the real estate industry and must commit to a fundraising goal of at least $1,000, working towards a $300,000 goal.
“Together across the U.S. and Canada we are a unified voice for the thousands of homeless kids and trafficked kids with no voice of their own, kids being abused and beaten and forgotten,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “With the money and awareness raised, [these] Sleep Out[s] will save lives.”
Since its inception, Covenant House has helped more than 1 million youths turn their lives around by providing a place for these kids to feel safe enough to turn their lives around in an effort to reduce homelessness in the future by addressing the problem today.