Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bridge Communities?
Based in Glen Ellyn, a western suburb of Chicago, Bridge offers transitional housing and support services to families facing homelessness that live and work in DuPage County. Founded in 1988 by community volunteers Mark Milligan and Bob Wahlgren, Bridge has grown to include more than 130 units of transitional housing.
What is Sleep Out Saturday (SOS)?
Sleep Out Saturday started in 2004 with the purpose to raise awareness about the issues and causes of family homelessness in DuPage County, while at the same time raise funds for Bridge Communities' Transitional Housing program. Since its inception, Sleep Out Saturday has raised more than $1 million to support the families in our program.
What is transitional housing?
Transitional housing provides apartments, supportive service and a stable environment to families facing homelessness who are working to improve or develop the skills necessary to live independently. This is typically defined by a two-year time period. Bridge Communities works with local faith-based and community action groups that provide mentors and essential financial support. Bridge provides professional case management, education tutoring, career counseling and coaching and donated automobiles.
How do I get involved in Sleep Out Saturday?
You can get involved with SOS by becoming a Sleep Out Star participant and inviting your friends and family to sleep out; you can become a sponsor through your place of business; or you can simply make a donation to help our client families. To learn about all the ways you can get involved, visit www.sleepoutsaturday.org. You can also call Margo Matthew at (630) 403-5091, or email her at email@example.com.
Where do we Sleep Out?
You can safely sleep out at your home in your yard, driveway and car. Smaller groups from local faith-based, businessess and community organizations can get permission from their leadership to sleep out on their property. Some groups (ie: businesses, service clubs) have slept in public places such as their local park. Bridge can help you get a permit from your local municipality. Bridge does NOT sponsor any sleep out location - each group must secure its own location and all needed security and help for their Sleep Out site.
What materials am I given to help with my SOS event?
Bridge Communities will provide you with extensive promotional, marketing, logistical and education materials to ensure that you have a meaningful experience. Our Tool Kits contains many educational and fun activities that are geared at many ages. We will also provide yard signs and fundraising tools. All of this material is provided free of charge.
Is there a minimum requirement for fundraising?
We ask that all Sleep Out Saturday participants make every effort to fund-raise for the Bridge programs. There is no minimum that we require you to raise. We do suggest that each Sleep Out Star sets a goal of $250: one week of housing and services for one Bridge family. Bridge Communities provides the online platform that participants can use to set up their fundraising page. Participants are also provided with many tips, sample letters and ideas for individual and group fundraising.
How do I promote SOS in my church or organization?
Bridge Communities will supply group leaders with marketing and promotional materials, as well as ideas as how to incorporate SOS into weekly bulletins, ministries or group meetings. Representatives from Bridge and other SOS sleepers are happy to make a presentation to your group.
I am an individual or family, do I need to join an organized group to sleep out?
No, you do not need to join a group. We have registration for Sleep Out Saturday Stars - our individuals and families who want to participate on their own or with their friends and family members. Register at https://www.bridgecommunities.org/Sleep-Out-Saturday/Register.html and you will be sent materials that are appropriate for you or your small group.
Can my Scout troop earn 'A Heart for the Homeless' Scout badge by participating in Sleep Out Saturday?
Yes, you can. We suggest that you do your selected activities at a troop meeting leading up to the Sleep Out Saturday event and on the day of the event, you can complete your badge requirements. Once you have completed your Sleep Out, order your Scout badges at https://www.bridgecommunities.org/Support-us/Earn-a-Scout-Patch.html.
I do not live in DuPage County, Illinois, can my group or I still participate?
Yes, we have many individuals, families and groups across the country who have participated in this event. If your group is in the Chicago area, and you participate in Sleep Out with our materials and trademarked name, Bridge does require that your proceeds benefit Bridge Communities.