Covenant House Michigan’s sleep outside fundraiser turns virtual

“One of the youth went up to our staff member and said shouldn't we be praying?” said Gerry Piro, executive director of Covenant House Michigan.

At Covenant House Michigan, a home for homeless youth, the residents and staff are worried. They’ve been bombarded by the news about COVID-19 - they're trying to talk and dance and and distance and pray to pass the time.

“It's very helpful. It's very encouraging and it shows us that we will get through this,” Piro said.

But it's not clear how long it could take and now the need here is greater than ever.

“We have 60 young people who are really very, very nervous and afraid that if they come down with something, we're going to exit them and that's not going to happen,” Piro said. “We made the promise that we're going to take care of them as best as we can.”

Which means following through with a huge fundraiser that was scheduled for Friday night -- the Young Professional Sleepout, where young professionals sleep outside to experience homelessness and raise money for Covenant House Michigan. It happens each year right on the campus - a campus that's now closed to visitors due to the coronavirus.

“To let someone on campus that we are not sure about is a risk. It’s a risk to our staff and certainly a risk to our youth,” Piro said.

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So this year's sleepout is now a virtual event. They'll be gathering via Zoom from wherever they decide to sleep.

“Some of us will be in our backyards, some of us will be on our patios-- really whatever you can find and feel comfortable with,” said Emily Sheeran.

This is Emily’s third year sleeping out, raising money and awareness for the thousands of young people who need a home.

“It shows people that there is something you can do, even from inside your home or your own backyard, so I think it's going to be a great way to connect,” she said.

They have 40 sleepers so far who've raised $30,000, but they still have $50,000 to go.

“We want anybody and anyone who’s willing to come and join us - it's going to be a great night,” Emily said.

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So you can still sleep out or support the people who are sleeping out, which of course supports Covenant House Michigan. Visit DETROIT.YPSLEEPOUT.ORG