‘Sleepless’: experiencing homelessness for a cause
by Johnny McDonald
Published - 09/19/12 - 04:22 PM | 17101 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Participants in this year’s “Sleepless America San Diego” event at Liberty Station on 
Sept. 29 will get a taste of what its like to be homeless, along with information and inspiration about what they can do to help remedy the situation.                                       Courtesy photo
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For a single night under the stars, the general public will have a better understanding of what it might be like to be homeless.

It’s the sixth annual “Sleepless America San Diego” event, scheduled to take place at Liberty Station on Sept. 29 to increase awareness of an acute problem. The event begins at 3 p.m. and ends the next morning at 7 a.m. 

The message is clear. More than 10,000 men, women and children are homeless in San Diego. Some have endured chronic homelessness for more than a year. 

Herb Johnson, president and CEO of the San Diego Rescue Mission, noted that since 1955 the mission has provided sanctuary and hope for the homeless.

“In collaboration with other faith-based, social service and community partners, we launched Sleepless America San Diego to bring attention to the challenges of chronic homelessness and the increasing number of people living on the streets in this wonderful city,” he said. “We needed to do something to elevate the process of finding solutions and generate funds.”

Johnson noted that sleepers will have a choice of sleeping on a cot, cardboard or plastic sheet to gain an appreciation of homeless conditions. Unlike the homeless, these 1,000 one-nighters can have snacks and can listen local musical groups. They’ll also listen to testimonies of people who have been helped by partner organizations   First-aid supplies, a medical staff and private security guards will be provided.

“Ours is a message of hope,” Johnson said. “And as sleepless campaigns expand across America we pray that our voices join together to help bring powerful coalition and solutions to the plight of homelessness.”

He said that when the San Diego Rescue Misson first opened its doors to the homeless in 1955, the mission offered little more than a warm meal and some shelter. 

The organization has grown over five decades to provide a full range of comprehensive services to restore hope for hundreds of people each year.

“Our programs also serve San Diego’s citizens by building stronger communities and by saving taxpayers an estimated $50 million a year in emergency room and other costs related to those living on the streets,” Johnson said.

To register or to find out more, visit www.sleeplesssandiego.org.
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