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Young Professionals Spend Night Outside For First-Hand Experience Of Homelessness

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Despite having homes and warm beds to sleep in, hundreds of young professionals spent Friday night outside, sleeping on the streets of New York.

As CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco reported, they all did it to make a point, and gain insight into what it is like to be homeless.

The cold, concrete driveway of the Covenant House -- a homeless youth shelter at 460 W. 41st St. in Midtown -- was where the 200 young professionals skipped the comforts they are used to.

LINK: More information on Covenant House's "Sleep-Out"

They rolled out their sleeping bags and were set to sleep outside on the ground as temperatures dropped overnight.

"It is humbling to think about someone who does it on a daily basis; someone who has had unfortunate circumstances in their life that has led them to sleep in the cold, and sleep in the heat and the rain and the snow," said participant Jordan Brunette.

"I had my own situations in life that could have put me here, and, you know, I figured I'd come and help out and do whatever I could," participant Kevin Schweer added.

Jalisa Honeyblue has faced the harsh reality for herself. Honeyblue, 20, left her home with no place to go and unsure where she would stay, until moving into the Covenant House shelter two months ago.

"We would argue every day and fight, and it was just like I had to get on my own, so it was like, now I'm here. I'm trying to do what I've got to do. I'm trying to get somewhere," she said.

While Honeyblue is one of the 300 adults at the Midtown shelter, she is one of many more adults suffering from homelessness in the city -- the issue the sleep-out was designed to raise awareness for.

"We know that right here in the city, young people have no place to turn. Too many of them end up sleeping on the subway; sleeping in the streets and in parks," said Covenant House executive director Creighton Drury.

It was an act of solidarity that the Covenant House residents appreciated.

"I think that's a blessing, you know, because a lot of people need to know what it feels like to be homeless," Honeyblue said.

The Friday night sleep-out was also a fundraiser. The Covenant House raised $200,000 to continue their work helping those in in need.

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