Teens spend night on street to raise money for affordable housing

Roughly 325 teens from 28 Minnesota congregations braved cold and rain April 18 to take part in Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation’s (PCNF) fourth annual A Night on the Street fundraiser.

The event is meant to build awareness of homelessness and raise money for PCNF, a nonprofit organization that has developed numerous affordable housing developments in Minneapolis. This year, participants ages 13–17 received more than $42,000 in pledges from corporate sponsors for spending the night in cardboard boxes in the Plymouth Church parking lot at Nicollet & Franklin avenues.

This year’s theme was homeless youth. The weather was not ideal, but PCNF Executive Director Lee Blons said it provided participants with a more realistic scenario since homeless youth are on the street year-round.

“The truth is we actually think young people learn more in that experience,” Blons said.

Speakers from youth service provider YouthLink and other youth organizations were at the event. One of them had experienced homelessness firsthand but was able to turn his life around and graduate from Macalester College in St. Paul, Blons said.

This year’s event drew more participants than any previous night out fundraiser, she said.

For more information on A Night on the Street and photos from this year’s event, visit www.nightonthestreet.org.