On April 6-7, members of the Saratoga community will join together with Whispering Angels of Saratoga Springs (WASS), a nonprofit foundation that raises crucial funds for LGBTQ issues and at-risk LGBTQ youth in Saratoga County, the Southern Adirondacks and the greater Capital Region, for its second annual Sleep Out event. The Sleep Out’s main mission is to raise awareness of the disproportionately large number of homeless youth that identify as LGBTQ in the US and the Capital Region and fund essential services for those at-risk and homeless youth.
According to WASS founder and LGBTQ-affirmative therapist Tas Steiner, despite the large number of LGBTQ youth who experience homelessness, there are only eight beds reserved for that specific demographic in all of the Capital Region’s homeless shelters. The lack of safe spaces, Steiner explains, further alienates kids seeking asylum after being kicked out of their homes, and creates problems such as finding transportation to school.
This year’s Sleep Out will be held in the backyard of a private Saratoga residence, and tents, bathrooms, dinner and breakfast will be provided. Saratoga Mayor Meg Kelly will be a guest speaker at the pre-Sleep Out rally and will also be sleeping out. The fundraising goal per sleeper is $250-$1000, and the overall goal of the event is to double the impact of last year’s Sleep Out—which raised $9000—with a special focus on buying LGBTQ beds for homeless shelters. To sign up to sleep out or for other ways of helping, click here.