This past Friday night, our campus had something called "Homeless Night." We had an event to start off the night that students could receive credit for attending. In this one-hour event, we had 3 speakers who had recently been, or were homeless. Two of our speakers were actually a married couple and talked about their separate experiences, as well as how they met one another. The final speaker was still technically "homeless" because he did not own a home of his own at this time. After the event, there was an opportunity for the campus (whoever wanted to participate), to sleep outside from 10pm - 6am the next morning to get sort of an idea of what it was like to be homeless. A lot of students could receive service credit hours or extra credit for attending also. I didn't have a class to give this such credit, but I still thought it would be an interesting idea so I went with several of my friends.
At 10, I went with about the thirty other students who attended to grab a cardboard box to sleep on. We were allowed to have that box, as well as one blanket for the night. I found a pretty large box that I shared with 2 of my friends. It started off not being so bad, but as the night went on, the box became more damp and uncomfortable. There were bugs, and not to mention the threat of someone just walking up to you while you're sleeping. Luckily we were on campus with security and chaperones, but I can only imagine what someone would have to go through on a daily basis with these less than desirable conditions.
Before I had really gotten into the mindset of a homeless person I found sleeping outside to be quite peaceful. My friends and I had placed ourselves next to the fountain on campus so that we would hear the water as we fell asleep and the weather was nice thankfully. I could not imagine doing that for days, months, or even years as it is with some homeless people. I was only outside for 8 hours and had the privilege of using my dorm's restroom when needed...in a real case scenario, this would not have been possible. I experienced waking in the middle of the night shivering from the cold, even though it has not yet reached Fall. I felt very blessed at 6am the next morning to be able to head back to my dorm and climb in to a nice warm bed with a roof above me and a place to stay. I pray for all of those who are in need and for all of the charities and organizations that try to lessen the amount of homelessness we have today.