World’s Big Sleep Out aims to raise millions for homeless

Will Smith will perform a bedtime story to participants of the World’s Big Sleep Out in Times Square, New York, while Dame Helen Mirren will tell a bedtime story to participants of this event in Trafalgar Square, London in December. Image Collab: Supplied & Anni Roenkae

Will Smith, Dame Helen Mirren, celebrities, musicians, Olympians, politicians, business professionals, acting royalty and an expected 50 000 people across the world will unite to fight homelessness in the World’s Big Sleep Out on 7 December. This event, one of the largest charitable campaigns, by Josh Littlejohn, founder of Social Bite, a charity in Scotland, will take place in cities worldwide and aims to raise $50 million to help one million homeless and displaced people across the world.

Research by the Institute of Global Homelessness shows figures have reached a new level with more than a 100 million people homeless and displaced around the world. In New York City, the World’s Big Sleep Out will take place in Times Square where actor Will Smith will perform a ‘bedtime story’ to participants braving the cold. There will also be live acoustic music performances throughout the world with the line-up announced over the coming months.

Dame Helen Mirren will participate by telling a bedtime story in Trafalgar Square, London and says homelessness is a real problem in the UK and for many nations throughout the world. She says this campaign will play an important role in shining the political spotlight on the issues of homelessness and displacement while raising funds to make a big difference.

100% of donations received will go to homelessness with 50% going to charities helping rough sleepers and people suffering from homelessness in a town or city. The other 50% will go to charities helping some of the 70.1 million people displaced globally who have lost their homes through war, natural disasters and poverty.

Littlejohn, founder of Social Bite, says he is blown away by the response to the World’s Big Sleep Out and is excited to have 50 cities all over the world taking part. He says it doesn’t matter if you are in Times Square or in your back garden, by sleeping out for one night on 7 December, we can express compassion for homeless people who have no choice and raise life-saving funds to make a difference. “We can also send a message to political leaders that urgent action is required to address human suffering that we each witness on our streets every day,” he says.

Caryl Stern, president of UNICEF USA, says as an organization founded over 70 years ago to support the end of displacement, they are elated to join this event to raise awareness and funding. She says the World’s Big Sleep Out provides an opportunity to engage people all over the globe and together, we can help create lifesaving, long-lasting impact for displaced children and families everywhere.

To take part in the World’s Big Sleep Out you can either host a sleep out or join a sleepout. You can organise your sleep out in your back garden, school grounds, private grounds of a company (with permission) or anywhere else safe and legal. You can host a medium event suited for families, friends, community groups, places of worship or a small charity of 1 to 300 participants.

You can also host the ‘World's Little Sleep Out’ which is a small, closed events for under 18s designed for schools and youth organisations or can hold an official event for 300 to 8000 participants with an official event page hosted on The World's Big Sleep Out website and a publicly accessible registration page.

By sleeping out, you can make a major difference to organisations fighting local homelessness in your city, as well as allow your community to join a global movement to tackle homelessness throughout the world. This will create one of the world’s largest displays of solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and displacement.

Dame Louise Casey DBE CB, chair of the World’s Big Sleep Out Trust, says homelessness is an urgent, deadly issue that affects people in all nations, but it is an issue that can be solved. She says this campaign is an act of compassion for fellow citizens; a way to raise much needed funds and a campaign for lasting change where everyone has a place to call home.

Find out more about the World’s Big Sleep Out at:

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