Sidewalk Sleep-Outs Connect Wealthy With Homeless

It might have been the most unlikely sleepover in Los Angeles. Not only did the gathering take place in an open-air parking lot, but any of the three dozen attendees could have afforded a room at the nearby Roosevelt Hotel.

With the noise of the Hollywood Freeway in the not-so-distant background, studio executives, lawyers, a luxury-jeans titan, and this reporter curled up on flattened cardboard boxes for a night spent sleeping—or not—on cold asphalt. Each had forked over at least $5,000 for the privilege.

Crazy or not, the event, known formally as the Covenant House Sleep-Out: Executive Edition, raised nearly $200,000 for Covenant House’s Los Angeles site. It was one of 15 sleep-outs that took place overnight Thursday in cities across the United States and Canada.

Four years since its inception, the sleep-out series has become a marquee event for Covenant House, which shelters 1,900 young people in 27 cities across North America every night, while providing other services. The inaugural sleep-out took place in November 2011 in front of the original Covenant House building at West 41st Street and 10th Avenue in New York, according to Tod Monaghan, vice president for development for Covenant House International. Fifty participants, executive board members, and their friends, raised about $500,000.

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