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Sleep Out Details

Date: Thursday, November 19, 2020 - Friday, November 20, 2020
Time: 8:00pm - 8:00am ET 
Location: Online at

Event Coordinator: Colleen Veldt
Contact: 212-727-4990 // [email protected]



Frequently Asked Questions

How does a virtual Sleep Out work?

On November 19, registered participants can tune in to a live stream to hear stories of 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. The full program schedule will be released on this page in advance of the event

When the program concludes, we 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, and additional activities that you can watch, read, or do throughout the night. You can also 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.


Where do I Sleep Out?

You choose your own location (somewhere safe and legal!) and plan a Sleep Out that fits your situation. Many participants Sleep Out in their own backyards and driveways while others Sleep Out in parking lots and grounds of businesses, schools, parks, or places of worship (note: you must get permission to Sleep Out on private property and Covenant House does not provide insurance or take on any liability for your Sleep Out). Wherever you Sleep Out, you can have a meaningful experience using the resources in your virtual Sleep Out toolkit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should follow CDC guidelines on social distancing. You can Sleep Out from wherever you are sheltering in place, even if it's your kitchen floor, with the people you are quarantining with or on your own.

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.

What 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 an international livestream on November 19 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. If you live in a state or province with a Covenant House site, the funds you raise will go to young people at that site. Participants are expected to set a fundraising goal 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. Find a fundraising toolkit here.

Why do I have to fundraise? And how much do I have 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. If you live in a state or province with a Covenant House site, your funds will help young people in your community (otherwise, we send your gifts where they are needed most, helping communities everywhere). By fundraising, Sleep Out participants become part of the solution for youth facing 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 toolkit 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.


Can my family, friends, or coworkers Sleep Out with me?

Yes! When you complete the registration form, select the option to “Create a Team.” If you are joining a national corporate team, be sure to select that team type upon registration. 

Choose a team name and share your custom team page link with friends, family, or coworkers to invite them join. Find sample invitations here. All team members should register and create their own fundraising page.

Virtual Sleep Out teams are encouraged! You do not have to Sleep Out in the same location as someone to join their team.

Are you pretending to be homeless when you Sleep Out? 

No. Sleep Out is not a night of pretend. We could never emulate the experiences of people who have faced homelessness, and we would not try.

Sleep Out is a night of vigil, offering solidarity and support to the ever-growing population of youth facing homelessness in North and Central America.

Sleep Out is an opportunity to raise awareness about the youth homelessness crisis, using action to call attention from people who may not have thought about this issue without a friend or family member getting involved. The night of the Sleep Out, participants are invited to an immersive virtual program where they can hear from Covenant House alumni and front-line staff and learn about the factors that contribute to youth homelessness. 

Finally, Sleep Out is a fundraiser that keeps Covenant House's doors open 24/7 for youth facing homelessness in 31 cities. Covenant House offers young people more than a safe place to sleep. Young people have access to supportive services like job training, education, legal aid, and mental health care, as well as necessities like nutritious food and clean clothing -- tools they can use to start on a path towards independence and self-sufficiency. Essential to Covenant House's mission is that every young person has a place to turn where they are loved and respected, and the funds raised through Sleep Out make that possible.

More than 2,000 kids sleep under a Covenant House roof each night and the unmet need is so great. Covenant House has remained open 24/7 through the COVID-19 pandemic, serving more than 1 million meals since March 2020 and allowing young people without homes somewhere to safely shelter in place. The growing Sleep Out movement ensures that these essential services continue while we work to end youth homelessness.

Why is the Sleep Out virtual this year?

Non-essential visits to Covenant House sites have been suspended in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as are 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.

I received a cash or check donation. What do I do?

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: Covenant House, Attn: Sleep Out, 461 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10001. Be sure to include your name in a note or the memo line so we can credit it to your page. If you are connected to your local Covenant House, you can also mail it there.

How can I get more involved with my local Covenant House?

Thank you for wanting to get even more involved in the fight against homelessness! Visit our list of local Covenant House sites to reach out to your local contact.

I want to Sleep Out. What is my next step?

Register online or contact us at [email protected] or 212-727-4990. Thank you for joining the movement to end youth homelessness.