One Night Without A Bed campaign raising funds for homeless youth

(CBS DETROIT) – A goal to raise awareness about youth homelessness is underway.

“Many of the young people that we service are disproportionately represented in the foster care space,” said Detroit Phoenix Center Founder Courtney Smith.

“They’ve been impacted by the juvenile legal system, and they are also, many of them have experienced homelessness or are at-risk of experiencing homelessness.”

The Detroit Phoenix Center is working to break the cycle of generational poverty and youth homelessness with a campaign to get youth off the streets.

“We provide resources to them such as after-school enrichment,” Smith said.

“We operate a drop-in center so young people can drop-in. They can take a shower; they can wash their clothes. They can access a food pantry.”

According to the Michigan Department of Education roughly 27,000 students experience housing insecurity, where 42% end up dropping out of school at least once.

The One Night Without a Bed campaign challenges participants to give up their bed for one night to stand in solidarity of youth homelessness.

“They can sleep on the couch, the floor, anyplace, their car, that makes them uncomfortable to raise awareness of the youth homelessness crisis in Michigan,” Smith said.

The effort calls for in-kind donations and care packages to help young people enrolled in the program get through the brutal winter months.

“This is a very busy season for us where young people are fleeing the cold weather,” Smith said.

“So, we need hats, we need scarves, we need gloves, non-perishable food items, hygiene kits.”

The One Night Without a Bed program runs through the month of December.

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