One Night Without a Home
It was cold, near freezing, when more than 50 students huddled together to spend a November night on the Library mall. They slept in cardboard boxes and ate chili and saltine crackers.
It wasn’t much, but it was more than many homeless Americans have on a given evening. That was just the message Alysia Castillo, director of health and homelessness for UTA Volunteers, hoped to send.
“Students give up their shelter for a night so they can get a better understanding of homelessness,” she says of the University’s annual One Night Without a Home event. “Education and awareness are the keys to lasting reform.”
UTA Volunteers partnered with the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Arlington Life Shelter during National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. A vigil walk and five speakers from the shelter, four of whom had been homeless themselves, brought the message into focus.
“We try very hard to create programs that not only educate but expose our volunteers to the complexity of it all,” Castillo says. “The more people who can be reached, the better chance we have at changing lives.”
In One Night Without a Home, an event sponsored by UTA Volunteers, students volunteer to spend one night in November sleeping outside in front of the library. With little food and no shelter, the students get a small firsthand glimpse into just what it feels like to be homeless.