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Overnight on the asphalt (or under the stars?) – raising awareness for Utah’s homeless youth

Oct 27, 2021, 4:25 PM | Updated: 5:24 pm
Photo of participants in  a past Youth Futures SleepOut event. Photo Credit: Youth Futures Utah...
Photo of participants in a past Youth Futures SleepOut event. Photo Credit: Youth Futures Utah

Youth Futures Utah, an organization that works to support homeless, unaccompanied, runaway, and at-risk youth in northern and southern Utah, is hosting its fifth annual SleepOut overnight event.

With locations in Ogden and in St. George, Utah, Youth Futures provides homes for Utah’s homeless youth. They report that a third location in Cedar City is coming soon. 

3,565 unhoused in Utah in 2021

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in January of 2020, Utah had an estimated average of 3,131 people experiencing homelessness each day.

A 2021 State of Utah annual report on homelessness indicates that this approximation has remained roughly the same. At any one point in time in 2021, 3,565 individuals in the state of Utah were unhoused. Only 2,410 of the unhoused population were in shelters. 

Among sheltered individuals in Utah, 252 were minors who had survived domestic violence, 14 were young parents under the age of 24, and 132 were unaccompanied youth. 

Temperatures are expected to be below freezing. 

The #UTSLEEPOUT2021 overnight takes place on Saturday, November 6th, in the back parking lot of the Youth Futures Utah locations in Ogden and in St. George. Currently, temperatures are expected to reach 25 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Over 100 attendees are expected. They will bring their own sleeping and warming gear for the overnight hours and will be provided with a sheet of cardboard to mark their places in the parking lot. That cardboard also provides an albeit thin barrier against the asphalt. 

Photo of participant in past SleepOut event Photo: Youth Futures Utah

In a press release, the organizers explained that unlike youth experiencing real homelessness, participants will have access to restrooms, on-site emergency services, food, hot beverages, and a “Warm Zone.”

Through the support of participants, volunteers, and private donors, Youth Futures has already raised $20,000. They report this money will help maintain and create services for vulnerable youth in Utah. Those services include emergency shelters available to homeless teens during what are often difficult weather conditions during Utah’s winters. 

Those interested in registering or donating to the event are encouraged to visit this web page. 76278.

        Flyer provided by Youth Futures Utah

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