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Siouxland Sleep Out Provides Awareness and Hope

An event taking place tonight in Sioux City aims to help the homeless. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer has the story.

Siouxland Sleep Out

The goal of the Siouxland Sleep Out raises awareness and funds to fight homelessness in the community.

The Siouxland Sleep Out takes place the first Friday in November, a way to bring awareness and, at the same time, raise money to help the homeless in the community. It's a tradition dating back to 2005.

Sarah Johnson is with Hope Street of Siouxland, one of the organizations taking part in the event at Sioux City’s Cone Park.

Interview with Sara Johnson of Hope Street.mp3
Hope Street's Sara Johnson

“I used to be the person that said they just need to get a job. But now I'm that person who can look at some of those deeper issues.”

Johnson is the Program Director for Hope Street of Siouxland, a sober living home in Sioux City that opened in 2019 to help men suffering from homelessness, addiction, and mental illness in the community.

“With the help of the sleep out, we really can use that money for operational costs, for you know, when an individual comes in, they need hygiene products, towels of shoes, clothing, food.”

The website for the Siouxland Sleep Out says there are around 250 to 300 homeless people on any given night in the Sioux City metro area. But Johnson says the number is likely higher, which makes the gathering even more important.

“This is an opportunity for the community to see what can happen and what changes can be made. For people when money is donated to the agencies and to fundraisers like those two lands sleep out, versus giving that money to the panhandlers on the street.”

Participants in the Sleep Out will build their own shelter to spend the night at Cone Park if they choose. The event, which starts at 5 p.m., also includes a food competition, live action, and music by the local band Ultra Violet Fever.