Waypoint SleepOut 2021: Taking the next step toward ending youth homelessness

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Sleepers hunkered down for a cold night outside, in the Waypoint SleepOut 2019, Manchester, NH. Photo by Tom Kallechey

MANCHESTER, NH – Registration is now open for the 7th annual Waypoint SleepOut, happening on Friday, March 26, 2021.  To register, go to www.waypointnh.org.

The Waypoint SleepOut calls for community members to spend the night out in the cold, in a show of solidarity, as a way to raise awareness and funds to aid homeless youth and take the next step toward ending youth homelessness in New Hampshire.

This year’s event will again be held remotely, with registered sleepers spending the night of March 26 outdoors, in a socially distanced way, at a place of their choosing, such as a back yard, and coming together for a shared virtual experience online. The revised format was established in 2020 in response to COVID-19. Approximately 120 participants slept out at home while their fundraising campaigns continued online, and sleepers shared photos on social media using the hashtag #NoRestUntil. Governor Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, Congressman Chris Pappas, and Senator Maggie Hassan were among those who participated in and supported the event last year remotely.

The effort raised more than $340,000 to help sustain and expand Waypoint’s critical services to young people experiencing homelessness, including street outreach, basic needs relief, crisis care, and transitional housing.

Jeff Seifert, regional VP of TD Bank, sleeps out from afar during Waypoint’s virtual SleepOut 2020. Courtesy Photo

The need is great

Currently, 1-in-10 young adults ages 18 to 25, and 1-in-30 adolescents, ages 13 to 17, endures some form of homelessness in America within a 12-month period, according to the latest report by Chapin Hall – University of Chicago.   Estimates show that between 14,000 and 15,000 youth are likely to experience some form of homelessness in New Hampshire this year.  Last year, Waypoint had nearly 1,500 contacts with youth who were experiencing homelessness in the Granite State.

In New Hampshire, Waypoint is the sole provider of comprehensive services for homeless youth.  The agency provides survival aid/basic needs relief and contributes to long-term stability and self-sufficiency through educational advocacy, job and life skills training, housing, access to mental health and addiction treatment services, and more.

Through the past six years of the SleepOut event, the agency has raised enough to bridge federal funding gaps and maintain services, as well as to lay the groundwork for expansion.

In 2021, plans are underway to establish a drop-in center in Concord and in Rochester, and an overnight shelter for youth in Manchester.  Waypoint hopes that through community collaborations, public awareness and advocacy, the expansion will create a greater social safety net for more at-risk throughout the state, and effectively get another step closer to ending youth homelessness in New Hampshire.

To register to sleep out, or to donate, and for further information, visit www.waypointnh.org.

The Waypoint SleepOut is sponsored in part by PROCON, Bank of America, and Rock 101.