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Covenant House Michigan host sleep out event, attendees battle bitter temps

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A call to action for homelessness, Covenant House Michigan is hosting its seventh annual young professional sleep out.

The organization primarily deals with homeless youth ages 18 to 24. The young professional sleep out is a way to bring awareness to the challenges many young Metro Detroiters face.

"You know sometimes homelessness for this age group is generational, so their parent or guardian is experiencing homelessness or have experienced homelessness," said Covenant House Michigan CEO Meagan Dunn.

With temperatures expected to drop into the 30s overnight and a chance of rain, the conditions will expose sleepers to the realities of life with no home. There are about 20 sleepers taking place in the sleep out.

The organization's CEO started with the group in 2022. In November, Covenant House hosted a different sleepout, which the CEO says was eye-opening. "My hope is that similar to me that morning and I woke up that morning and I had a renewed sense of energy that this has got to end now," she noted.

The sleep out raises money so that Covenant House can continue its work with homeless youth. Each sleeper raises at least $1,000.

"Our overall goal for the event is 50,000 and we hope every sleeper will raise at least 1,000," said Abby Jacobs, a fourth-year sleeper.

For Dunn, her hope is that homelessness is eradicated.

"There's systems that can change to help end the cycle of homelessness it's just making sure those systems are talking to each other," she said.

Sleepers will be layered and bundled up on the campus of Covenant House. Lights are out for them at 11:30 p.m., and from there they'll brave the cold winds of Detroit.

"You're sore, you didn't get a good night's sleep," Jacobs said.

As of now, Covenant House has about 70 young adults in its care. The sleep out will last until 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The Michigan young professional sleep out has raised over $300,000 since 2017. 

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