Special Contributor Deb Sakry Lande
Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners

Plymouth-based Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners' 26th annual Sleep Out began on Saturday, Nov. 13, and ran through Dec. 31, 2021. The nonprofit organization announced that community support helped raise more than $3 million to prevent homelessness and address suburban poverty. Hundreds of people braved the cold
 to attend the Sleep Out kickoff on Nov. 13, 2021 and they slept out all over town during the campaign in tents, cars and boxes to raise funds and awareness.

Kevin Ward, Executive Director of Interfaith Outreach, Henry Brantingham, Interfaith supporter and Kjell Ferris, Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church at a Sleep Out 2021 event.

Henry Brantingham, an Interfaith Outreach supporter and 10-year Sleep Out participant sleeps out on Thanksgiving day every year, “We sit around the table, we give thanks for all of our blessings, and then I do my little thing which is just a reference to the suffering that goes on at the same time.” Henry sleeps alone  overnight in a tent in his back yard and invites his friends to donate to Interfaith through his Sleep Out fundraising page to support his effort and the nonprofits’ mission.

“The needs of the community are greater than ever, and that’s why we stepped up our fundraising goal to $3 million this year,” said Kevin Ward, Interfaith Outreach executive director. “We are beyond amazed by the generosity of this community. Thank you, 100-fold! It takes all of us to address and prevent the challenges people face such as rising housing costs, underemployment, the cost and lack of access to childcare and access to healthy foods. The added strains of the pandemic will have lasting effects on individuals and families living in poverty for years to come.”

According to Wilder Research, 14% of people living in Interfaith Outreach’s eight-city service area in the west metro are living in poverty. For a family of four, that’s $26,500 a year, an income level that can scarcely cover even the most basic needs such as rent which is $1,467 on average. Last year more than 200 Interfaith families experienced homelessness.

Since the Sleep Out began, Interfaith Outreach has helped prevent homelessness 34,912 times through rent assists – keeping people in their homes and preventing homelessness 631 times last year alone. The Interfaith Outreach Food Shelf is now a certified SuperShelf, serves hundreds of households per week including in-person and home delivery food distribution, and 44% of the people served at the Food Shelf are children. All of these efforts are largely possible thanks to the annual Sleep Out, which raises 40% of the organization’s budget in eight weeks.  

Community generosity provides:

  • caring case managers who help people through crises so they can stabilize and strengthen
  • rent assistance so families can keep their housing, preventing eviction and homelessness
  • utility payment assistance that keeps the lights and other utilities on
  • Employment Services support including access to education/training that helps people find and keep living-wage jobs
  • fresh and culturally-specific foods at the new SuperShelf food shelf
  • and more...

About Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners

The mission of Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners is to engage the heart and will of the community to respond to emergency needs and create opportunities for all to thrive.

A suburban human service nonprofit serving families and individuals living in eight west Hennepin County communities, Interfaith Outreach and its community partners mobilize resources and ignite the power of community to help residents move past crises, overcome barriers to independent living, and connect with services and opportunities to build strong futures. Interfaith Outreach delivers services in the areas of family support, food, housing and neighborhoods, education and youth, employment, and transportation.

Serving residents of Hamel, Long Lake, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Plymouth and Wayzata since 1979. Learn more at iocp.org or 763-489-7500. Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners is an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.