Public invited to sleep in church parking lot, recognize homelessness

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 4:49 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Homelessness is prevalent but can seem invisible.

“Homelessness looks like, it can look like me,” said Lydia Pickett, the executive director for the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless.

This week is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and in 2020, nearly 4,000 people in Alabama were homeless.

Pickett explains that some homelessness is hidden.

“I just got a job. I don’t want anybody to know I’m homeless. So, I joined the gym, I take a shower in the morning, I get dressed, I go to work. I come back. I sleep in my car,” said Pickett.

To raise awareness MACH is hosting the first-ever Not-A-Bed Sleep-Out, inviting people to spend the night in a parking lot not only to raise awareness but also to get a better understanding of what homelessness is like.

“It’s not people just begging on the corner or hooked on drugs, or whatever else people think,” Pickett said. “It’s people with college degrees, it’s people who have professional skills, it’s people with families, it’s people with loved ones who don’t know where they are.”

If you can’t sleep out, you can also gain a better sense of this right in your own backyard.

“Spend a few hours even if not the whole night on your patio or sofa. Spend a few hours on a pallet on your living room floor. Spend a few hours just on your living room sofa, spend a few hours in a tent in your backyard on the sleeping bag somewhere,” Pickett said. “And think about those who don’t have an option.”

With winter on the way, Pickett says donating blankets or jackets to local organizations can go a long way.

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