Last night I participated in Bridge Community's "Sleep Out Saturday" event. Around 1500 people in the DuPage county area got a taste of what is like to be homeless by sleeping out in tents, cardboard boxes and cars. The organizers hoped to raise $100,000 to help end homelessness.
I know that a night of "camping out" in the cold doesn't equal homelessness. I also know that it was not a pleasant experience. It was cold, damp and uncomfortable. Each of us woke up several times during the night and nobody got a good night's sleep. There was even a sense of humiliation as some people came by and laughed at our "boxes and tents" sleeping area. All the people who slept out at St. Matthew UCC in Wheaton went away from the event with an appreciation for having a home, a dislike for sleeping out in the cold, and, I hope, a desire to do something to end homelessness in DuPage County, in Illinois, in the United States and in all the world.
I have come away from the experience saying, "Nobody should be in a situation where they have no place to live. I know that we -- as a nation and as it's residents -- have the resources to end homelessness."
I'd love for the best minds on how to end homelessness to get together and come up with a plan. Until then, I hope anyone who reads this helps move toward the goal of ending homelessness by supporting organizations like DuPage PADS and Bridge Communities.
Nobody should be in a situation where they have no place to live.
*** This article has been reposted on Bridge Community's Sleep Out Saturday 2006 page.