Siouxland Sleep Out Helps Fight Homelessness

The annual Siouxland Sleep Out is a night when people from all over Siouxland give up a night in their homes to help out those who don't have a home at all.

Because homelessness can happen to anyone.

"It happened to me after a breakup and being unable to work," said Myron Howley, at the "Siouxland Sleep Out" Friday night. "I was forced to find a place to live and wasn't able to find one."

Myron isn't alone.

Imagine having no place to sleep on a cold night, no place to get warm.

That's a harsh reality for the nearly 300 homeless on any given night in Siouxland.

"It can be anything as simple as somebody losing their job and being down on their luck," said Susan McGuire, with the Center For Siouxland. "And then they can't keep up on their bills, they can't pay their rent, they get evicted, and before you know it you're homeless."

Events like the "Siouxland Sleep Out" raise money for those with nowhere else to go, but often it's not a simple situation.

Many homeless people deal with mental illness.

"Whether it's schizophrenic, dual diagnosis," said McGuire. "And people who have substance abuse, chronic substance abuse issues."

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 643,067 people experience homelessness on any given night in the U.S. and 67,000 of them are veterans.

That is why those lucky enough to have a place to call home are helping put an end to homelessness.

"Homelessness is a problem," said Howley. "It can happen to anybody."

"All of us are really just one paycheck or two paychecks away from being homeless," said McGuire.

"Siouxland Sleep Out" raises between $50,000 and $60,000 for the homeless each year.