100-plus executives to sleep outside Sunday to raise money for youth homelessness

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More than 100 executives will be sleeping outside Sunday night to raise money and awareness for youth homelessness in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, and executives from 3M and Xcel Energy, are among the people participating in the event put on by YouthLink, a local nonprofit that works with homeless youths, ages 16-23, across the Twin Cities.

Participants will be spending the night in sleeping bags outside of the YouthLink building in downtown Minneapolis, the Southwest Journal reports. Doing so creates "a more immersive experience" for donors and participants to see what it's like to be homeless, the paper says.

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This is the second year for the nonprofit's Night of Hope: Executive Sleep Out event. Last year, the inaugural event raised more than $150,000, with 70 Twin Cities executives sleeping out.

This year, the organization has a goal or raising more than $250,000 for YouthLink's programs and services, the nonprofit says.

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The low Sunday night is expected to be 64 degrees, the National Weather Service says.

A look at youth homelessness in Minnesota

Homelessness is an ongoing problem in Minnesota, especially among youths and young adults, who are among the least visible and most vulnerable homeless people. In its most recent study, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation found nearly half (46 percent) of all homeless people in Minnesota are 21 or younger, including 1,151 youths who are living on their own.

But the foundation says on any given night there are at least 4,000 Minnesota youth experiencing homelessness.

There are some organizations, including YouthLink, that work to help homeless youths find a place to live and provide services for them.

The Star Tribune recently highlighted some of the drop-in centers in the Twin Cities that serve homeless teenagers and young adults, noting at least 10 transitional housing complexes, apartments or drop-in centers are in the works in the area.

In the past two years, the Minnesota Legislature has allocated more than $5 million in funding for programs and facilities for homeless youths, the paper adds.

Can't make it to Sunday night's event? Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, based in the western suburbs, also does an annual sleep out.

The organization's goal is to have 2,020 people sleeping out or raising money to support IOCP families on Nov. 7 – the 20th anniversary of the event. The group hopes to raise $2.2 million this year.

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