(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland) will join fellow supporters of Covenant House New Jersey on Friday, April 11 in raising awareness for homeless youth by participating in a “sleep-out” on the State House lawn.
More than 7,000 of New Jersey’s children experience homelessness each year. If homeless, children face far-reaching obstacles. Numerous studies have demonstrated that children subject to homelessness as a child are more likely to be homeless as adults. Homelessness can negatively affect a child’s physical health, emotional and behavioral development and academic success.
Riley serves as a co-chair for the Covenant House New Jersey’s Sleep-Out: Legislative Edition. Over the last week, she has been raising money to support Covenant House’s mission and will continue to raise awareness for homeless youth by joining many of her colleagues in sleeping over night on the lawn of the State House with nothing more than a sleeping bag and cardboard box.
“This is about our kids,” said Assemblywoman Riley. “Not all homeless youth are runaways. Many children are faced with homeless because of poverty, parental employment loss, and sexual or physical abuse at home. Homelessness can leave affected youth with permanent scars they will likely struggle with for their entire lives.
“The sleep-out events bring greater awareness to our communities and support the endeavors of the Covenant House and other state organizations working to end homelessness in the state. I am honored to lead the legislative initiative at the State House on Friday.”
Covenant House New Jersey is the State’s largest provider of services to homeless and at-risk adolescents under 22. In addition to food, shelter, clothing, and crisis care, Covenant House New Jersey provides healthcare, educational and vocational services, counseling, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, legal services, mother/child programs, transitional living programs, street outreach and aftercare. In New Jersey alone, they provide 157 beds each night as well as services to more than 2,000 youths annually.
To participate in this event or for more information refer to www.legislativesleepout.org. You may also contact Assemblywoman Riley’s Salem County District Office at 856-339-0808, Kim Pereira (email@example.com, 973.945.6494) or Janette Scrozzo (firstname.lastname@example.org, 973.621.8705 ext. 3544).