NYPIRG hosts ‘Sleep Out’ to raise homelessness awareness


Dalton Patterson/ The Record

Buffalo State’s chapter of New York Public Interest Research Group hosted the event April 19.

Terra Harter, Reporter

Homelessness is an issue that is prevalent in areas all over the United States, but many people aren’t aware of the extent the effects have on the physical and mental health of the individual.

On Tuesday, April 19, students came together for SUNY Buffalo State’s annual “Sleep Out” event that took place underneath the Cleveland archway. This simulation was created to bring awareness to homelessness.

During the event, students were able to create their own blankets and cardboard box homes to experience what it is like to live without shelter or warmth. There were also various hand-painted signs with different statistics hanging all over the archway, such as “26.6 percent of those experiencing homelessness are children under the age of 18.”

“I think homeless people need to be offered the opportunities to help better themselves and I want to help any way that I can,” sophomore Avery Edwards said.

“I want students to be able to recognize and take part in being able to help these people,” Edwards said. “We have people making blankets; we have statistics so that people know the reality of what’s going on; we also have different organizations here to tell what they’ve done to help the homeless in the surrounding community.”

Some of the organizations that were present include the NAACP and ROTC.

Project leader and Buffalo State senior Emily Mrozek said “there are stereotypes of what people think homeless is but it can happen to anyone of any background.

“We often hear about Buffalo becoming a renaissance, but what about the small people who deserve to experience that too?”

Mrozek handed out pamphlets at the event which included phone numbers and addresses to which people in situations without homes can go to for shelter.

Symone Campbell, president of Buffalo State’s NAACP chapter, also attended the event with other members of the organization. This was not the only event that NAACP participated in to help the homeless.

“For a community service day we made baggies with different Valentine’s Day messages in them and brought them to the Harbor House crisis shelter at night,” Campbell said. “But I didn’t really think about homelessness until I got to Buff State. I would see so many homeless people while doing things as simple as walking to the bus stop. That’s why I want to do something.”

Talia Huff, executive director of R.A.R.E. Place Inc., a non-profit organization, also attended the event.

R.A.R.E. Place Inc. was founded in 2014 and provides assistance to women and men of all ages who are homeless. R.A.R.E. stands for Reveal who they really are, Affirm who they want to become, Restore confidence in themselves and Empower them to achieve their ultimate goals.

They also attend high schools such as East and Bennett High School in order to provide students with the necessary skills to make good decisions after graduation.

“I feel like schools are doing students a disservice by not sharing that information with students,” Huff said. “We try as much as we can to break those barriers to get into schools and be able to work with the youth to some prevention.”

If you would like to learn more about the R.A.R.E. Place, the website is www.therareplace.org. They also have a Facebook page at facebook.com/therareplace.

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