Morehouse Students Lead Movement To Help Homeless; 300 AUC Students To Sleep Out OvernightDate Released: March 24, 2017
More then 300 students from Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University will sleep outside on cardboard boxes together tonight to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless.
The event, “A Night On Brown Street,” will begin at 8 p.m. with simulations that help students understand what it is like to live without shelter. The effort is being organized by the Atlanta University Center student group LYTEhouse, which supports social justice issues.
The sleep out will end at 5 a.m. Saturday, March 25.
Organizers of the group spent 48 hours sleeping overnight with the homeless last winter to get a better understanding of the challenges those without permanent shelter face each day.
“We spent 48 hours in downtown Atlanta,” said LYTEhouse president Kamren Rollins, a junior who is majoring in English and Latin American studies. “We tried to sleep in front of Atlanta City Hall, but it was freezing. You had to keep moving to stay warm and use the restroom in the bushes. We met a lot of good people in the cold that were without shelter.”
“A Night On Brown Street” will educate students about the gap in support that homeless people face throughout metro Atlanta. Student participants will register for assistance only to learn that there is not enough food, water, and shelter to serve everyone.
There are nearly 14,000 people considered as homeless in Georgia, according to the “2015 Report On Homelessness” by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Many include families with children. (More than 1.5 million children nationwide experience homelessness each year, according to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.)
“We will have a Hunger 101 simulation,” said LYTEhouse vice president Cameron Edge, a sophomore who is majoring in sociology and African American studies. “We will have different tables that shelterless people would actually have to go to – the public aid office, Veteran Affairs, the food pantry. Only 68 can be served, so not everyone who goes to the pantry will eat.”
Morehouse College administrators worked closely with LYTEhouse to host the event for the AUC. Associate Dean of Student Life Kevin Booker said the sleep out will be held on a street that runs through the heart of Morehouse College. Parking lots have been closed and campus security will be on duty to make sure the simulation runs smoothly, Booker said.
“A Night On Brown Street” is being supported by partners that include the Campus Alliance for Student activities, Morehouse Bonner, the Residential Housing Association, the Morehouse Student Government Association, the Maroon Tiger, the Collegiate 100, and several fraternities and sororities.
Edge said he hopes the event will change the mindset that some students have about homeless people. “A lot of times, the shelterless are people who have had unfortunate circumstances,” he said. “Some are veterans. And some are college graduates who were unable to find a job after they got their degrees.”
LYTEhouse’s focus on homelessness will continue after students collect their cardboard and return to their dorms. Following the sleep out, the group will volunteer to feed the homeless at 10 a.m. Saturday. LYTEhouse raised more than $4,000 to purchase 800 lunches and bags of toiletries. Those items will be distributed Saturday to homeless men, women, and children in the shadows of downtown Atlanta and at Hurt Park.
“Who are we not to care,” Rollins said. “Often times, until you experience what someone else goes through, there is no way you could possibly understand how they feel. Without understanding how they feel, you can’t truly help them. We hope after ‘A Night Out On Brown Street’ students will have more appreciation for the work that needs to be done to help those without shelter.”
Last Modified: June 8, 2017, 13:06 PM, by: Synera Shelton