With winter already spreading its arctic grip across the Chicago area, more than 20,000 young adults and students are looking for a permanent home, not just overnight shelter.
In response to this housing crisis, a region-wide "sleep-n" will be held in Chicago's South Loop Friday night, Feb. 24, to benefit 13 organizations providing shelter, drop-in space and advocacy for youth experiencing homelessness in the region.
This is the second event raising funds for these agencies. The first was held during a blizzard in November 2015, and raised more than $44,000.
The Out in the Open Sleep In will be held at Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Ave. While the first event was held outside on Montrose Avenue near Lake Michigan, this year, the event is moving inside to save on expenses and difficulty in permitting for outside overnight events in the city.
"The first event showed just a small example of the difficulties faced by people living outside during the winter," said Tracy Baim, Windy City Times publisher and executive producer of the event. "There was a blizzard and frigid temperatures, and many people were unable to make it through just that one night outside. Imagine what it is like to live this way 365 nights a year."
The event works like other pledge-related events. People sign up for teams that select which agency they are raising funds for. Individuals can join any team to benefit any of the partner agencies. Team names should also include the beneficiary agency ( example: Rise Up for BYC ).
This year, the event is also able to accommodate satellite events anywhere, with people creating their own event in the city or suburbs, and selecting which agencies to raise funds for. This is perfect for schools, religious organizations or families to build their own Sleep In and be part of the benefit, connecting through live social media posts during that evening.
Attendees will hear from individual teens and participate in a variety of activities. There will also be dozens of entertainers performing during the event.
This year's partner agencies are The 750 Club Apartment Adoption Project, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Broadway Youth Center of Howard Brown Health, Center on Halsted, Chicago Youth Storage Initiative, El Rescate, La Casa Norte, LYTE Collective, New Moms, The Night Ministry, Pride Action Tank, Teen Living Programs and Unity Parenting.
The event is hosted by Pride Action Tank, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Edelman, Agency EA, Windy City Times newspaper and Second Presbyterian Church, along with a wide range of other partners.
To donate or sign up for the inaugural event as well as to learn more about individual teen's stories, visit sleepinchicago.org/ .
To volunteer or for information on team signups, contact Jackie Thaney at JThaney@aidschicago.org .
For information on sponsorships, email Tracy Baim at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Facebook invite: www.facebook.com/Sleep-In-Chicago-1473953326244549/ .