Manchester, NH – March 25, 2023 –Several hundred “sleepers” from across New Hampshire spent a chilly March night outside to help raise support for efforts to combat youth homelessness and support core services for these youth provided by Waypoint. The 9thannual SleepOut event raised over $373,000 through generous corporate support and individual fundraising efforts by 210 “sleepers” who sheltered outside on the night of March 24.
SleepOut is a night spent out in the cold to raise our collective consciousness about homelessness and to raise funds for the services that fulfill critical needs and help transform lives. Funds raised have empowered Waypoint to establish the state’s first and only overnight youth shelter in Manchester in 2022 and drop-in centers in Concord and Rochester.
As a hybrid event, many “sleepers” congregated as a group at the Rochester center to participate in this year’s SleepOut, while others chose a backyard or other local setting to join in the effort and experience a night sleeping outside in 30–35-degree temperatures. Participants have an individual goal of raising at least $1,000 a year. This grassroots effort resulted in 2,030 separate donations.
"Confronting youth homelessness in New Hampshire is a community-wide effort," said Waypoint's president and CEO, Borja Alvarez de Toledo. "Thank you to our participants who braved the cold and reached out to friends and colleagues to support them and to our many corporate sponsors. All of this support helps us serve as a lifeline to more youth across and provide essential services to contribute to their long-term stability. Together, we will bring more New Hampshire youth closer to home."
Each year, Waypoint makes over 1,500 contacts with youth and young adults who are homeless. National research indicates that the actual number of youth likely to experience some form of homelessness in a year’s time in NH could be over 14,000. Youth homelessness is typically the result of family instability, parental mental illness, addiction, poverty, and a history of family violence including child abuse/neglect. Once homeless, youth are in constant danger of being victimized or exploited, and it is increasingly difficult for them to exit homelessness without assistance.
Corporate sponsors supporting the 2023 SleepOut event included: PROCON/Stebbins Family, Bank of America, Elektrisola, Velcro, AmeriHealth Caritas, Rise Private Wealth Management, Exeter Hospital, Alumni Ventures Group, Cambridge Trust, Rock 101, Elliot Hospital, Bangor Savings Bank, WMUR-TV, Keller Williams Realty, M&T Bank, WMUR-TV, McLean Communications, Sousa Signs, NHPR, Bob’s Furniture, Prime Source Foods, Eastern Bank, McLean Middleton, 603 Birch Realty, Sheehan Phinney, and Merchants Fleet.
Waypoint has been meeting the needs of children and families for more than 170 years. Currently, it is the only organization in the state providing comprehensive services for youth and young adults ages 12-25 who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Waypoint strives to connect with newly homeless youth quickly to prevent long-term consequences and chronic homelessness. Its array of services including Runaway & Homeless Youth prevention, Street Outreach, Transitional Living Homes, Youth Resource Centers, Rapid Rehousing, and the new overnight emergency shelter, help to meet basic needs and contribute to long-term stability.