Everything you need to know about the Stage & Screen Sleep Out

Date: August 24, 2020
Time: 8:00pm - 8:00am ET 
Location: Online

Event Coordinator: Colleen Veldt
Phone: 212-727-4990
Email: [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a virtual Sleep Out look like?
On August 24, registered participants can tune in to a live stream to hear stories from young people overcoming homelessness at Covenant House, front-line staff who have been working overtime to ensure that our doors stay open and our youth stay healthy, and, of course, from other participants. The program will be interactive and include an activity as well as time to engage and ask questions of youth and staff. Find the Sleep Out program schedule here.

When the program concludes, we will ask you to give up your beds for the night. For some, that will mean sleeping on the floor of their living room or kitchen; for others, it might mean taking a sleeping bag to the backyard. Because this Sleep Out is virtual, many participants will invite their family or roommates to Sleep Out with them. You can take additional steps like deciding to shut off your heater or forgo blankets for the night, saying no to pajamas in favor of the jeans you wore that day, or giving up your phone charger.

Our team will also provide a video library, written stories from youth, and additional activities that you can watch, read, or do throughout the night, and you can follow along with your fellow Sleepers on social media using the hashtag #chsleepout. If you’d like help figuring out how to make the night meaningful, our team is available: [email protected] or (212) 727-4990.

Do I need to prepare in advance?
Once you have a place to sleep that’s safe and legal (for example, your backyard or the floor of your kitchen), the level of preparation is up to you. We will share reminders, activities, and videos throughout the night of the Sleep Out, so keep an eye on your email to follow along. You can decide to join the virtual Sleep Out experience at any time. Find a schedule here.

What else is expected of Sleep Out participants?
Participants should approach the Sleep Out with an open heart, an open mind, and a willingness to work hard for something outside of your comfort zone. Participants will need to identify a place to Sleep Out (somewhere safe and legal) and can join a national livestream on August 24 or utilize the Virtual Sleep Out toolkit to plan a meaningful night.

Fundraising is an important part of the Sleep Out experience, as the money raised is put to work immediately to shelter and care for youth at Covenant House. Participants are expected to set a fundraising goal of $500 and work to reach individually or with a team using the online portal provided.

Fundraising can be a daunting task in the best of times, let alone amid a global health, human rights, and economic crisis. The Sleep Out team is here to help. We know that this year will be different and will work with you to create a fundraising strategy that meets your needs. 

Why do I have to fundraise? And how much do I need to raise?
The Sleep Out is a unique experience that we hope encourages awareness, empathy, and understanding for the immeasurable odds that young people overcoming homelessness face. But while awareness of a problem is important, it isn’t a solution.

We ask Sleep Out participants to raise critical funds that allow Covenant House to offer safety, shelter, and support to these young people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  By fundraising, Sleep Out participants become part of the solution for youth facing homelessness.

Given the current state of the world, we have lowered the minimum fundraising goal for this Sleep Out to $500. You can also create a shared goal with your team or set a goal for the number of donations you want to collect (we suggest 20). Sleep Out is a grassroots fundraiser and the more people you reach helps spread the word about youth homelessness.

While fundraising should feel like a challenge, but it shouldn't be a barrier to entry. Our team is available every step of the way to provide the tips, materials, and guidance, as well as information on how the funds you raise help young people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. We have adapted our Fundraising 101 Guide with the steps to get started.

What do I tell my supporters?
Keeping your supporters, friends, and family updated about your Sleep Out is important. Not only are the funds and awareness you raise vital for youth at Covenant House, but transparency helps your network understand why you’re home instead of on the street and that their gift to Covenant House still matters greatly. Find sample messages here

I want to Sleep Out. What’s my next step?
Members of the Broadway, film, and television industries can register online or contact us at [email protected] or 212-727-4990. Please note that this is an industry-exclusive event and there is a two-step registration process; your page will be created within 1-2 business days after registering. 

Why is the Sleep Out virtual this year?
All non-essential visits to Covenant House site have been temporarily suspended in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as are all volunteer and in-person fundraising events. We're disappointed, and we know many of you are as well, but whether we sleep on the concrete outside or on the floor of our apartments, we are proud to be part of a movement to shelter and protect youth experiencing homelessness.

These young people are among the most vulnerable among us, not only to something like coronavirus, but to so many other illnesses, both physical and mental, that come directly from the trauma of living on the streets, and to the consequences of economic instability. They need us now more than ever. Read more about COVID-19 at Covenant House.

Please know that as soon as it’s deemed safe, we will be in touch with (many) invitations to come back to Covenant House, including future Sleep Outs.

Can a friend or family member Sleep Out with me?
As the Sleep Out has gone virtual, we encourage you to invite your family or roommates to join you for the experience. You can also create a team page and invite friends and coworkers from the Broadway, film, and television industries to join. Please contact us at [email protected] or 212-727-4990 with any questions.

I received some donations in cash and checks. What do I do with them?
You can add cash or check donations to your page through your Participant Dashboard. Here's how:

  1. Log into your Sleep Out account.
  2. Hover over the “Donations” icon in the black dashboard at the top of your screen (bottom if you're on a mobile device).
  3. Click the option to “Add an Offline Donation.”
  4. Scroll down to find and complete the Offline Donation Form. Once all the information is entered (please be as complete as possible!), click the button to “Add Donation” at the bottom of the form.

Once you have entered the gift, please mail to our office (be sure to include your name in a note or the memo line):

Covenant House
Attn: Sleep Out: Stage & Screen
461 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

virtual sleep ouT TOOLKIt