What is the Sleep Out?
The “One Night Without a Home” Sleep Out is part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. This event is an opportunity for participants to spend a night outside to discuss, think, and learn about homelessness. Although one night outside can in no way simulate homelessness, this awareness-raising activity can promote advocacy, awareness, and education.
Why did you schedule this event on a Thursday night? Why not a weekend?
A Sleep Out is an awareness event. Many of our neighbors who experience homelessness sleep on the streets and then have to go to work or school. They have to go through their daily routine after being cold, uncomfortable, and not well rested. We hope that the Sleep Out experience carries with you throughout your Friday. Each time you are cranky, irritable, and exhausted throughout your Friday, you will be reminded of the plight of our homeless neighbors and enter into a deeper understanding of their daily struggles. Please take note of those feelings and share them with your donors, friends, and neighbors. Please raise awareness beyond the Sleep Out event.
Why do I have to fundraise?
A Sleep Out is a special experience that will make everyone who participates more aware of the challenges that homeless kids deal with every day. But awareness of a problem isn’t a solution for it.
We ask everyone who participates in the Sleep Out to raise money for the Norristown Hospitality Center to help those who are experiencing homelessness in our community. This money will support basic needs services, social services, health & wellness programs, workforce development, and special clinics. To see a full list of the programs offered, please CLICK HERE.
By fundraising, everyone who participates in the Sleep Out becomes part of the solution!
Why is my fundraising goal $100?
In January 2023, the Point in Time Count found that over 350 individuals were homeless in Montgomery County. The life expectancy for homeless people is 48, compared with the overall life expectancy of 76 years in the U.S.
By raising $100 (or more) each, the Norristown Hospitality Center can provide life saving care for our guests. Besides the daily breakfast and shower programs, our focus for this program year is to expand our offerings of Health & Wellness programs. This includes our monthly health clinic, bi-monthly HIV/STI testing program, and our weekly opioid recovery program. You can make a difference and provide life saving programs to the hundreds of individuals who rely on the Center for care.
What should I bring to a Sleep Out?
Each participant will need a sleeping bag, a cardboard box, or a tent (optional). Choose comfortable clothing that is appropriate for extended time outdoors (wear layers!). We also suggest bringing personal toiletries and medications. A smartphone is useful, but participants should try not to bring other personal valuables or luxury bedding items, such as pillows. The expectation is that you will “sleep rough” for one night, as many individuals do every night.
The Hospitality Center will provide simple care bags with some food during the event. It will include items that are frequently provided to the Center’s guests.
Where there be access to restrooms during the Sleep Out?
Access to restrooms is always a struggle and concern for those living on the streets. During the Sleep Out event, restrooms will be provided at the Norristown Hospitality Center throughout the night. THe Hospitality Center is half a block away from the Courthouse. Staff and volunteers are available to escort any participants to and from the Center.
Where do I get cardboard boxes to sleep outside?
This is a question that those experiencing homeless ask and have to answer, too. Think for a minute. What items come in large boxes? Where are those items stored or unpacked or sold or shipped? Who might you ask for those boxes?
What do I do if someone gives me a check?
While most Sleep Out donations are made through credit card gifts online, people can also donate cash or write a check. Please ask the donor to make the check payable to the Norristown Hospitality Center. Also, please ask the donor to add your name to the memo and write “Sleep Out”. Please ask them to mail the check to:
Norristown Hospitality Center
ATTN: Sleep Out
P.O. Box 858
Norristown, PA 19401
What if I am under 18 years of age? Can I still participate?
Yes! Although the Sleep Out on the Montgomery County Courthouse steps is for those over 18 years of age, those who are under 18 years of age can participate with their school, faith community, or their family. We are working on live streaming the vigil and speakers so that you can participate at your school, faith community, or even at your home. If you can’t sleep outside, perhaps you can sleep on the floor. The idea is that being uncomfortable is part of the daily experiences of our homeless neighbors.
How can I spread the word about my Sleep Out?
- Talk. A lot. Have conversations with the people you know best and ask them to join you. Post about your Sleep Out on your social networks, and use the hashtag #MontcoSleepOut to connect with the Sleep Out movement.
- Send emails. Print some posters and hang them up at work, at your school, or pass them out at meetings.
- Be creative!
Event Coordinator: Matt Kirsch
Email: [email protected]