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Gathering at camp creates understanding about homelessness

Posted at 11:55 PM, Dec 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-07 23:55:35-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Under a clear sky on a quiet December night and next to the warmth of fireside soothing against winter's bite, people gathered at Camp Camby on the southwest side to learn more about what folks experiencing homelessness go through every winter.

"It's gonna be cold," Ryan Chapman, executive director of Act of Grace and Camp Camby, said. "It's going to probably be life-changing for these people."

It was part of The World's Big Sleep Out, a global event that helps give a better understanding for the experiencing of homelessness.

"An event where we try to get some exposure to what it's like for people to be out in the cold," Jeff Rausch, a Camp Camby volunteer, said.

Jennifer Ellis, who is staying at Camp Camby, said it's a chance for people to experience what she and others have experienced.

"I lost my family a year ago, and we've been calling shelters for months we've been homeless for five months," Ellis said. "It's transitional housing, so I think it's a really good program especially with us coming, we're in recovery now."

"This place is a blessing," Matt Knippenberg said.

Seventeen families currently live at Camp Camby, where job training, daycare and addiction services are available.

"Our long-term goal for every family, individual or veteran is to get them into long-term housing," Chapman said.

The World's Big Sleep Out is expected to include more than 50,000 participants around the globe with an ultimate mission of raising resources to help and to spread compassion and empathy for people experiencing homelessness.

"There's always something you can do to help those people out," Rausch said.

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