Sleeping Outside to Raise Awareness

Sleep Out Saturday hoped to bring awareness to the issue of homeless in DuPage County


COD Newsroom

Katie Toolan, Staff Writer

BridgeCommunities is an organization in DuPage County looking to bring awareness to poverty and the people affected by home instability. Sleep Out Saturday was hosted at the College of DuPage this past Saturday, Nov. 6. The hope was to make the students and faculty mindful of the homelessness in their community. It may not be as apparent in DuPage County, but the problem of homelessness does exist here.  

DuPage County homelessness affects families at a higher rate than other parts of northeastern Illinois. According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s report, “Between 2007 and 2016, at least half of the homeless population in DuPage County were families, the highest percentage share in the region. As of 2019, McHenry County had the highest percentage of families experiencing homelessness (42%), followed by DuPage County (39%) and Lake County (38%).” 

The evening began with an introduction by COD President Brian Caputo. Caputo spoke about the importance of the work of Bridge and about the significance of the evening’s event. 

“What you are doing here is very important. You are raising awareness about homelessness and supporting us and Bridge Communities in combating a very serious social problem,” Caputo said.  After Caputo’s remarks, he introduced Megan DeAngelis, the manager of nutritional services at Bridge.

DeAngelis is a testament to the success of the work being done by Bridge. She is a COD alumna and a beneficiary of Bridge’s services. After a tumultuous situation with her ex-husband and his family, DeAngelis found herself and her two children homeless. She made some inquiries and was referred to Bridge by the Department of Housing and Family Services. 

She spoke of the reception she received from Bridge. 

“I went in with the kids, and they were just as sweet as can be,” she said. “No judgment.”

As the nutritional services manager at Bridge, DeAngelis spoke about nutrition and the access to affordable, nutrient rich food being a struggle for families. 

“You can be full, you can eat but you are not giving your body the nutrients it needs,” she said. 

In these situations, people are faced with choosing costs over health. 

DeAngelis also spoke about the small acts of compassion that can be extended to make an impact on someone in a positive way by volunteering time or, “Maybe it’s just a smile that you give to the person next to you.”

Students who participated spoke about the importance of an event like Sleep Out Saturday. Noah Herman, a biology student, spent a 35-degree night in his silver Toyota Camry with his friend Emmanuel. Herman explained what he hopes his participation will inspire. 

“I hope it invokes a personal responsibility,” Herman said. “The people here will look at homeless people differently.”

Emmanuel Marjurutira, a student of radiology, heard about the event through the Intervarsity, a program at College of DuPage run by Jeff Haus. Marjurutira is hoping that this event will have a global impact. 

“I am here to support the homeless people around the world,” he said. Marjurutira explained he thinks events like the Sleep Out Saturday give people hope.

Prior to the pandemic, homelessness in DuPage County was significantly declining. According to statistics from a Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning analysis as of November 30, 2020, DuPage County recorded a 60% decline in homelessness between 2007 and 2019, the greatest percentage reduction in the area. Whether the effects of COVID-19 and the lifted eviction moratorium will reverse the progress made fighting homelessness in the last decade, remains to be seen. In the meantime, Bridge will continue its work to move people from dependency to self-supporting lifestyles. For more about Bridge and the work they do, visit their website:

COD Newsroom
COD Newsroom