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Suny Broome Students Camp Out On Campus To Support Homelessness

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Dozens of Suny Broome students slept in tents on campus Friday night for the 9th annual Homeless Awareness Sleepout.

This event raises money for the Southern Tier Homeless Coalition.

In 2017, over 1700 people in the Southern Tier experienced homelessness. Of that number, there were 176 families and 321 children.

“We’re encouraging to get individually involved in all the organizations. We want to build a bigger safety net. We want our citizens and students to invest their time fully in our community," said Kevin Carr, the Vice President of Student Affairs and Suny Broome Student.

According to Carr, they hope to raise $3,000 in the event.

“All the funds raised will go to the Southern Tier Homeless Coalition no freeze fund which ensures from November through April each winter, no is left without a shelter option,” said Rebecca Rathmell, Continuum of Care Coordinator.

During the event, campers heard from someone who was previously homeless. Michael Vasquez shared his story of being homeless after losing everything when his business failed. He talked about his survival on the streets and his journey out of homelessness.

“When you see someone who’s homeless, keep in mind it’s not necessarily like the movies, that there’s mental illness or cause of drugs, there could be a lot of reasons, and instead of looking as we sometimes do, we look away from them, we look down at them, instead look at them like anyone else and just say 'hope you have a good day' and 'hope you’re alright' and give them that encouragement that they’re going to be okay because that little thing may be the thing that gets them to the next step, that helps them get to that next interview, that next opportunity, or even to come in to an organization and say I need help,” said Vasquez.