In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the increased need to support the over 4.2 million homeless youth in the United States, Audra McDonald and Stephanie J. Block join Covenant House International for its first-ever digital Sleep Out, beginning at 8PM ET April 24.
Covenant House’s Sleep Out events have become a ritualized way to raise funds and awareness for homeless youth. Monies raised fund food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, job training, and short and long-term housing for homeless youth.
Typically, a Sleep Out is held as fundraisers sleep on the street for a single night in solidarity with homeless youth. However, the virtual Sleep Out will take place with individuals participating separately from their homes and congregating online. The event will feature live updates from front-line staff and youth at Covenant House shelters across the country, interactive activities for families and individuals, and surprise guests.
Additionally, the eighth annual Stage & Screen Sleep Out is slated to take place later this summer with Covenant House in New York City, public health updates permitting.
Youth living in homeless shelters are at particular risk during the global pandemic; they are more susceptible to the virus in congregant homes, and they are still developing physically, cognitively, psychologically, and emotionally, and often lack health insurance, resulting in health problems going unchecked.
“COVID-19 has reached our shelters, and despite all of the odds we are facing, Covenant House is continuing to provide care to youth overcoming homelessness and keep kids healthy. Our national Sleep Out America campaign helps ensure we can continue to do this important work,” said Covenant House President & CEO Kevin Ryan.