Executives go homeless for the night

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Several area business leaders will spend the night on a north St. Louis parking lot, sleeping on cardboard boxes and blankets.

The event is aimed at shedding light on what it`s like for area youth who are homeless.  Many of those youth turn to the Covenant House for help.

www.covenanthousemo.org

The agency offers support and temporary housing for youth without a home.   Some of its clients watched area leaders sleep out in the cold for last year`s event.

"They were shocked that people in our community would come out sleep outside raise money, raise awareness for them," said Sue Wagner.  "I mean it was such a moving experience for both our sleepers and all of our youth.  It was just wonderful."

Kevin Demoff, Chief Operating Officer of the St. Louis Rams, was among the area leaders sleeping out in the cold last year.  He will sleep on a cardboard box again this year.  Demoff  is the honorary chair for this year`s  Sleep Out.

He can`t imagine what it`s like sleeping on the streets night after night.  He was exhausted after one night on a cardboard box.   Demoff said most people don`t think twice about taking a shower or going out for a cup of coffee.

"These kids don`t have that opportunity," said Demoff.  He feels the age group of the people the Covenant House helps, 16-21, is sometimes forgotten.

The president and CEO of the Gateway Motorsports Park will also spend the night on a parking lot in north St. Louis.  Curtis Francois hoped to shed light on how many area youth are in need of a good home.

"Whatever we do is just a minor inconvenience for us," said Francois.  "It`s just amazing that kids are doing it every night."

Cassie Brown is a Covenant House client.  She said the agency is helping her to become a restaurant manager.

Davon Lee is also a client.  He said Covenant House helped him discover a part of him he didn`t know existed.  He was moved by seeing business leaders willing to spend a night in the cold.

"For them to acknowledge that they know about this, and they care, you know, that shows a lot to me," said Lee.  "That shows a lot of respect."