Leaders wake up on the street after "sleep out" to spotlight homeless youth



Posted on November 16, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 2:49 PM

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NEW ORLEANS - Dozens of business and community leaders were sleeping on the street Friday morning.

They took part in Covenant House's "sleep out" to raise awareness for nearly 1,000,000 at-risk youth who are homeless.

"They didn't just stay here and sleep out. They spent two hours talking to our kids, understanding where they have been, how many of them have slept out, how many of them have been on the street," said Jim Kelly, the head of Covenant House.

Participants slept on cardboard mats with sleeping bags.

"What I learned is that you sleep with one eye open. You hear every bump in the road. I had no idea how loud Rampart was," Kelly said.

An estimated $90,000 was raised through the event, including a $15,000 donation from Capital One.

The money is needed. The average census per night at the Covenant House has increased from 45 to 98.

"I love these kids. And now these leaders in our community love these kids and understand these kids too. And I think that's going to help us as we look at all the issues of at-risk and homeless youth in our city," Kelly said.