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Sleepers at the 2015 Sleepout. Photo by Jeff Hastings for CFS.




Be a sleeper

To participate: Contact Cindy Gaffney, gaffneyc@cfsnh.org, 518-4156. Or go to crowdrise.com/sleepout2016 and hit the “Join” button. Participants commit to raise at least $1,000.
Check-in: 9-9:30 p.m. in Radisson front lobby/parlor. Hot cocoa will be available.
Sleeping starts: Approximately 10:45 p.m.
Next morning: Coffee and pastries will be available
Rules: No entertainment, no kids and no pets are allowed




Looking for sleepers
Sleepout raises funds, awareness for homeless youth

03/17/16
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 There are an estimated 300 homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 22 in Manchester on any given day — a stat that prompted Child and Family Services of New Hampshire to organize its first Sleepout last year to raise money for homeless youth services.

It was a simulation of what it might be like for a homeless youth to sleep outdoors, and community members will do it again this year, on March 25 in front of the Radisson.
Child and Family Services says this year’s Sleepout is poised to be twice the size of last year’s. Spokesperson Kat Strange said last year there were about 50 sleepers, and they raised more than $140,000. This year organizers expect between 75 and 100 sleepers. CFS originally set a goal of $200,000, but Strange said that may be optimistic. The real goal is to beat last year’s number.
Carol Heald, who works in the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs at CFS, said that while the event is meant to simulate what it’s like to sleep outside as a homeless person, it is a bit easier for participants, who can bring sleeping bags and will be under a canopy top, protected from any rain.
“We have cardboard on the ground, but we’re right on the ground right in front of the Radisson,” she said. 
Plus, it’s only for one night, and there will be hot chocolate available in the evening and pastries and coffee in the morning. 
The fundraising model is like a marathon, where each sleeper has a fundraising campaign where they try to get friends and family to sponsor their effort. 
Over recent years, the number of homeless youth has appeared to increase, though Heald says that may be partially due to greater access to information through community outreach and networking with schools.
“I don’t know if it’s gotten any worse or better but I think that things like the economy have impacted homelessness on a grand scale, so I would imagine that would have also affected youth homelessness,” Heald said.
She says homelessness looks different for different youth.
“Some of those youth may be in a family situation staying in a shelter. Other youth may be couch surfing, other youth may be staying with someone who’s not their guardian or their family member, some may be actually sleeping out on the streets,” Heald said.
And about 40 percent of the homeless youth nationwide are gay, lesbian or transgender. Heald says this high correlation often has to do with households who object to the youth’s sexual or gender identity. 





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