The 3-Minute Interview: Homeless advocate Alexis Lindsay

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People,Matt Connolly

Lindsay is the coordinator for Covenant House Washington's Sleep Out: Young Professional Edition, in which young D.C. professionals sleep outside for a night to show support for the city's homeless youth. Sleep Out will take place Friday night.

This is the first year for the Young Professional Edition. What's the plan?

The concept of the event is that young professionals are sleeping out one night so that a kid doesn't have to. On April 12, they will sleep out just to show solidarity with the homeless youth in D.C. We have a $30,000 goal, and we ask participants to pledge $1,000 each. We're currently at 83 percent of our goal. Last year we did the executive version -- it was really a success. The executives were at a $5,000 level.

Where did the idea to have folks sleep outside come from?

A lot of times with fundraising, the participants raise the money but never feel that connection. This is a really active way to show solidarity and raise the funds. We're hoping that our young professionals, instead of saying, "I'm going to a gala this year," they'll say, "I want to make my family and friends aware of the issues with homeless youth." It's really about understanding the population of youth that we serve. We also have a roundtable opportunity where the youth are going to share their stories and talk about the many faces of homelessness.

What drives someone to spend a night outdoors as opposed to raise money in a more traditional way?

I think it's the sacrifice. Everyone has their own reasons. Some of our young professionals have faced homelessness at points in their lives, or they've faced other life challenges. It's a way to say, "We're standing with you." They're not saying they understand exactly what it feels like to be homeless, but they're saying they want to stand with them.

- Matt Connolly

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