What to Know
- The sold-out event, which will take place Saturday night at the Rose Bowl Stadium, will feature Meghan Trainor, Randy Jackson and more.
- The Big Sleep Out is a global event that aims to raise $50 million. An estimated 60,000 people from 52 countries are expected to attend.
- Previous versions of the campaign in Edinburgh raised over $10 million over two years.
The stars will be out during Saturday’s sold-out "Big Sleep Out" event in Los Angeles, a major location for an international initiative to raise awareness and funds for homelessness.
Those participating in the LA event will spend the night at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena to show solidarity with the homeless, of which there are nearly 60,000 in LA County. The Sleep Out will accept visitors from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. All overnight participants are required to leave by 9 a.m. Sunday.
Several celebrities have registered to appear at the free event, including musicians Meghan Trainor, Ziggy Marley, Randy Jackson and Sean Kingston. The show, which begins at about 6 p.m., will also feature a lullaby from singer Ellie Goulding and a bedtime story from actor and comedian Seth Green.
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About 2,000 people are expected to attend the concert.
The World’s Big Sleep Out aims to raise $50 million globally. Half of the money will support local organizations, including the Downtown Women’s Center and the Los Angeles Mission, while the other half will go to international charitable groups.
The charities that receive donations from this event will be held accountable for how the money is used, according to Marchelle Sellers, president and CEO of nonprofit Charity On Top, which is organizing the event’s LA location.
"We all want to know there's a solution coming to this problem and we're all trying something," she said.
Participant Jeff Diamond says he convinced some of his coworkers to register for the overnight event with him.
“To me, it's so important to not only give back to your community but recognize the benefits that we have and what people don't have,” he said.
Diamond is joining an international effort. On Saturday night, people in Chicago, New York, Edinburgh, London and other cities will volunteer to taste a bit of what millions of homeless individuals and families experience every day – though with the company of several high-profile celebrities and groups.
An estimated 60,000 people from 52 countries will join the event on Saturday night, according to Sellers. About 150 participants will spend the night in the Rose Bowl Stadium.
That’s a small fraction of what YaleGlobal estimates as 150 million people, or approximately 2% of the world’s population, experiencing homelessness. However, the publication also notes that calculations of the global issue are difficult due to international differences in how homelessness is defined.
"We know that this event is not the answer to this really complex issue, but the idea is to bring global awareness to it," Sellers said.
Besides increasing awareness, the Sleep Out initiative also aims to help 1 million homeless and displaced people with the funds it raises. Previously, the campaign in Edinburgh raised over $10 million over two years, with one of the nights attracting 8,000 participants to sleep in below-freezing weather.
Josh Littlejohn, the founder of the campaign, visited LA to raise awareness of the city to the event.
"I've walked down Skid Row in Los Angeles and the issues are obviously very, very significant here," he said.
Littlejohn also says what strikes him most about the crisis in LA is how closely the rich live with the poor.
"To juxtapose that with Skid Row, which reminds me of a refugee camp, a tent city, it's quite shocking as an outsider to come see that," he said.
Of course, the issues are also clear to residents from the area.
"You can't go down any street without seeing people without homes and it's such a rampant issue that we need to address," Diamond said.
The Sleep Out in LA will somewhat resemble a homeless encampment, with all participants spending the night in their sleeping bags despite the chance of light rain. However, for safety purposes, Rose Bowl Security will monitor the event overnight and there will be free hot drinks available.
Tickets for the event are no longer available, but for more information or to donate, click here.