(SIOUX CITY, IA) Imagine not having a warm bed to snuggle up in when it's cold outside. For 9 years some Siouxlander's have put themselves in the shoes of the less fortunate who live that experience.
Around 2,500 people were homeless last year in Sioux City and it's estimated between 200-300 people are on the streets here on any given day.
It's a statistic that didn't sit well with a group of people who decided to raise awareness.
"I think the most important problem was that people didn't know that we had this issue," said Willie Delfs, Sleep Out Coordinator for the event.
Which is why the group set up tents and boxes in the middle of Lewis and Clark Park in 2005 to make a point - homelessness is real. That night they gathered nearly $20,000 in donations.
Almost a decade later, the tradition is stronger than ever.
"We're from very humble beginnings and 9 years later we're growing a little bit but our goal is to help our transitional housing unit and in addition to that 7 or 8 other community action agencies to help render this issue gone," said Delfs.
Willie knows homelessness here is just a small fraction of a nationwide problem but hopes the agencies that benefit from the event will expand.
"I hope we can go 90 more years. Actually not, we hope that problem has taken care of itself much sooner than that but we're in it for the long haul and as long as we see a need out there we're going to try to help out," he said.
The event has something for just about everyone - live music, door prizes, and even a shelter design contest, with categories for kids, teens and adults.
The Siouxland Sleep out is Friday November 8th at Lewis and Clark Park. Set up and registration starts at 1 and a soup line dinner is at 5.
Siouxland News is a sponsor and will bring you live coverage from the event.