Face the elements to fight youth homelessness: Three local agencies issue challenge to the community


Sponsored: Reggie’s Sleepout

Under a clear sky or in rain, sleet or snow, three local agencies are challenging Central Iowans to sleep outside on the field of Iowa State University’s Cyclone Sports Complex to raise much-needed funds and awareness to end youth homelessness.

Reggie’s Sleepout — Ames will be held on Friday, April 26, and will benefit YSS, Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) and the Emergency Residence Project (ERP). Iowa State University is a presenting sponsor for the event. Registration is now open at www.reggiessleepout.org.

Reggie’s Sleepout has been a Des Moines staple for 12 years, but in 2017 the event was brought to Ames and Iowa State University.  The positive feedback and funds raised in Des Moines inspired YSS to bring the event to Ames and expand our reach by including ACCESS and ERP.  Registration for the event is open; help us reach our goal of 700 participants.  

Using tents, sleeping bags and cardboard box structures ranging in design from simple to sophisticated, more than 1,000 campers are expected to sleep out on the field during Reggie’s Sleepout – Ames. The goal is to raise more than $100,000 through peer-to-peer fundraising and sponsorships to help end youth homelessness in Central Iowa.  

“Every year, more than 300 children and youth in Story County and surrounding areas are homeless, sleeping in temporary housing, shelters and even vehicles. These are the most vulnerable members of our community, and organizations like YSS, ACCESS and ERP are essential in providing assistance,” said Andrew Allen, President and CEO of YSS.  “There is more that can be done to ensure every child has a safe and secure home. Reggie’s Sleepout is a wonderful opportunity for our community to get involved.”

While nothing can truly replicate what it is like to be homeless, Reggie’s Sleepout does provide an experience that helps those who participate understand the concern. The event is free and open to the public and people of all ages are welcome to participate.  For more information and to register visit www.reggiessleepout.org.  

More about YSS

YSS provides hope and opportunity to more than 7,000 children, youth and families annually through a comprehensive offering of prevention, treatment and transition programs. As a leading, state-wide youth-serving agency, YSS gives children and youth a place to find their voice, heal with compassion, make healthy choices, feel safe and secure, learn life skills, grow their confidence, and ultimately, stand strong.

YSS has spent more than 40 years putting kids first, offering a wide range programs from birth to adulthood, including school-based prevention programs, outpatient counseling and therapy, and transitional services for at-risk and homeless youth. For more information, please visit www.yss.org.

More about ACCESS

The mission of the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) is to address the roots and impact of domestic and sexual violence through services that enhance safety, empower survivors, and promote understanding and social justice within our community.

ACCESS provides a host of services geared toward enhancing safety and supporting the healing of crime victims of all ages in Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall and Tama Counties. Services include crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy in systems such as courts or medical services, and community education. ACCESS supports youth and adult survivors experiencing homelessness and housing instability through a scattered site emergency housing program, financial assistance and long-term care coordination. For more information, please visit www.assaultcareercenter.org.

More about ERP

The Emergency Residence Project (ERP) provides shelter and support to those experiencing homelessness while striving to prevent individuals from becoming homeless.  We strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment; be respectful to everyone we encounter; show compassion and empathy to people in need; provide hospitality; guide people towards self-empowerment and hope; and believe in the importance of community partnerships so we can effectively end homelessness in our community.   

ERP provides an array of services centered around preventing and ending homelessness in our community.

Programs include homelessness prevention financial assistance, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and rapid re-housing programming.  

ERP strives to meet the needs of youth and adults experiencing homelessness through a coordinated system of services based on the presenting level of need.  

For more information, please visit www.amesshleter.org.