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‘Sleep Out' Raises Money for Homeless Youth in DC

NBC Washington D.C. logo NBC Washington D.C. 5/20/2022 Walter Morris
© Provided by NBC Washington D.C.

Dozens of people are spending Thursday night outside to raise money for programs serving homeless youth in D.C. as part of Covenant House Greater Washington's Spring Sleep Out.

“When you’re homeless, it doesn’t matter what the weather feels like, because you’re in a traumatic mental state, a traumatic physical state,” Covenant House board member Kelly Mikel Williams said.

He said he looks forward to the Sleep Out every year.

“It’s an exciting time for me, now; it’s an exciting time for me because now I’m able to express to those who are here what I was going through,” Williams said. “I’m able to express to those who are here what I was going through. I’m able to express to them, now, what 6,000 Washingtonians are going through every night.”

The organization provides services like housing, food, education and job training to youth ages 18-25 experiencing homelessness.

“It’s not an event to pretend that one is sleeping, or one is homeless, but rather an event to show solidarity with our young people to say we see you and we support you,” Covenant House Greater Washington CEO Angela Jones Hackley said.

Covenant House, which helps about 400 young people every year, holds an annual Sleep Out in November. This year it added one in the spring.

Williams uses the event to educate anyone he can and reflect on how far he’s come.

“I think back to when I was homeless, actually, and couldn’t get up,” he said. “At that moment in time, it was fear, it was concern, it was what do I do next? It was how do I survive?”

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