Hundreds of people across the country went to sleep on June 20 without a bed…on purpose. Participants in Family Promise’s Night Without a Bed campaign slept anywhere except their beds – sofas, tents, sleeping bags on the floor, in their cars – to raise support and awareness for the crisis of family homelessness.
Nearly 30 Family Promise Affiliates participated in the challenge, which encouraged people to post photos of their sleeping arrangements on social media and promote statistics about this housing crisis.
The Sessions family built a tent in their living room in support of Family Promise of Montgomery County, TX. Mom Cassidy serves on the Affiliate’s board and wanted her family to experience how it feels to sleep without their own comfortable beds, as one in 16 children in this country does.
One friend of Family Promise of Cowlitz County, WA, spent the night in his car, while another spread blankets and a pillow on the floor.
Even a supporter in the United Kingdom posted about the experience: “It was very heavy rain for most of [the night] and [I] got soaked. However, it doesn’t compare to actually not having a home. I knew I was able to come in and have a shower and sleep in a bed at 6 a.m. I found the experience very thought-provoking!”
Friends and staff shared their photos, including Family Promise CEO Claas Ehlers, who spent the night on his deck.
All acknowledged that despite the temporary discomfort, one night couldn’t compare to the experience of families who struggle with homelessness around the clock.
Executive Director of Cowlitz County, Lisa Staudinger, summed up the experience, “We are hoping people develop a sense of what it would be like if they had to [sleep without a bed] every night. We hope it builds a little better empathy for that experience.”
The event raised more than $450,000, with a nod to the top-performing affiliates: Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, AZ, Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley, OR, Family Promise of Missoula, MT, and Family Promise of Cowlitz County. Some affiliates added incentives, like Family Promise of Roane County, TN, which held a contest for “most creative sleeping space.”
Did you miss out on Night Without a Bed, but still want to support Family Promise? Giving is open until July 8th!