NewsPositively San Diego


Organization to sleep outside to raise awareness about youth homelessness

Street Sleep San Deigo
Posted at 6:08 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 21:08:10-04

POINT LOMA, Calif. (KGTV) — Homelessness among teens and young adults in San Diego has become more dire since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of this, San Diego Youth Services is holding its first-ever Street Sleep event to help raise awareness.

"This is a serious problem in America's Finest City," Walter Philips, CEO of San Deigo Youth Services, said. "We have youth who are struggling in our community, who are living on the streets."

San Deigo Youth Services established the first shelter for runaways and homeless youth 50 years ago.

On any given night, at least 1,500 young people are experiencing homelessness in San Deigo.

Philips is at the forefront of the crisis as the head of the organization.

He said the issue has only gotten worse over the years, especially during the pandemic.

"These are youth who are ending up in critical situations because their families are struggling, school has been out, so we see more and more of these youth through COVID that are ending up on the streets," Philips said.

The Street Sleep San Diego event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday night, October 1.

For one night, Philips and others will sleep outside in the parking lot of the San Deigo Youth services building.

Philips said the event is not to try and pretend what it's like to be homeless but bring attention to the issue.

"We really don't want to stigmatize what a youth experiencing homeless looks like," he said. "It could be a youth walking down the street with a backpack, goes to school, goes to college, and at night, have no place to turn."

The funds raised from the event will help provide shelter, clothing, and other services for homeless youth.

San Diego County's District Attorney, Summer Stephan, and The San Diego Police Department are expected to participate.

The event will also feature youth speakers on the homelessness crisis.

For more info on the event, click here.