Elmhurst area participated in an annual project for the homeless that is unique in its approach.  Over 1500 people, teens and children as well as adults spent the night of November 5th outside, using tents, boxes and cars for their only shelter in the Sleep Out Saturday Night fundraiser sponsored by Bridge Communities.  This event, begun in 2003, not only helps to raise money for the homeless, but builds empathy for them through the experience.

There were Sleep Out sites in 75 locations throughout the DuPage County area.  Teens especially seemed to awaken to the many aspects of being homeless because of their experiences on the Sleep Out.  They were urged to continue their normal activities the next day instead of using it to catch up on the sleep they most certainly lost by trying to sleep outdoors.  This way, they can see how people who have lost their home through foreclosure may have to cope.

In an article by Carol Pavlik in the Elmhurst Patch, Joyce Hothan, executive director of Bridge Communities, indicated that the stereotypical homeless person (drug-addicted, alcoholic, etc.) doesn’t apply nearly as much as it did a few years ago.  “With the rise in home foreclosures,” Hothan said, “more families are coming for help.  Last year, Dupage County saw a 20 percent increase in foreclosures and ranked nine out of 102 counties in the number of foreclosures.”

Bridge Communities is helping homeless families in other ways also.  They are sponsoring an Adopt a Family program for the Christmas season.  You can help a family have a Christmas they would not be able to enjoy otherwise.  One creative way to teach your children about giving of themselves is through the “Giving Party” program.  With the help of the Bridge Communities personnel, you can have a party (Birthday, Christmas, etc.) for your child at which all the participants bring a gift for the poor instead of (or in addition to) gifts for each other. 

The success of these programs is indicative of the generosity of the American home-owner in general, and specifically those in the Elmhurst area.  This generosity is, through these various helping and fundraising programs, being encouraged in the youngsters; a very hopeful sign for the future.  In economic downturns such as we are experiencing, it is important for communities to pull together for the benefit of all.

If you are interested in living in a community that cares, Elmhurst may be the place for you.  If you’re looking for property in the DuPage County area, just call me, Tom Makinney, at our home office, (630) 567-5902, or check out my website