Dozens of Houston-area business executives and members of the community camped outside in sleeping bags in chilly conditions early Friday to bring awareness to Houston's homeless youth.
It was the first ever "Sleep Out For Homeless Youth" at the Covenant House Texas. The goal was to not only bring awareness, but also to help raise money. It was part of the 22nd International Annual Candlelight Vigil & Rally for Homeless Youth.
Houston executives said the experience was life-changing.
"It's a little uncomfortable, but I'm going to be sleeping in a bed tonight," said Tom Kurz, Sysco Vice President. "That's the heartbreaking part -- to think about what we went through as children, we've had rough spots, all of us as kids growing up, but we haven't gone through anything like these kids have gone through."
Covenant House Texas says thousands of children under the age of 21 are homeless each night in Houston/Harris County.
Covenant House hopes to raise $2.5 million collectively throughout North America. Approximately $200,000 was raised in Houston.
All of the money raised will go to supporting programs at Covenant House like medical and mental care, a crisis shelter and transitional to permanent living.
Established in l983, Covenant House Texas is a non-profit human services agency that offers crisis shelter, crisis intervention, outreach and prevention, medical care, transitional housing, educational/vocational training and community-based services to runaway, and homeless youth under the age of 21. CHT offers youth sanctuary from the dangers of street life and abuse, structure in their unstructured lives and the necessary emotional support to help them choose workable life alternatives. Parental consent is required for any youth under the age of 18. CHT is part of an international network founded in New York City in 1968.
For more information, visit CHT's website at www.covenanthousetx.org.