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Local nonprofit organizes a night at Bergfield park to bring awareness to homelessness

Volunteers will call Bergfield park home for the night to bring awareness, advocacy, and education to homelessness.

TYLER, Texas — The East Texas Human Needs Network hosted "One Night Without a Home" to bring awareness of the conditions homeless people face on a day-to-day basis. 

The ETHNN is a public charity and works together to strengthened programs, connections, and improved awareness of services that meet essential human needs.  

This free 14-hour experience started at 4 p.m. and will last until 6 a.m. the following morning on Nov. 4.

40 people have volunteered to give up their bed for the night in exchange to sleep at the Bergfield Park.

The event started at The Salvation Army of Tyler at 4 p.m. where a meal was provided for the volunteers prior to the event. 

Volunteers began their 1.8 mile walk at 5 p.m. to Bergfeld Park which they will call home for a night. 

Participants can bring whatever they can carry in their hands such as sleeping bags, blankets, cardboard, and plastics. They're encouraged to dress in layers to keep warm. 

During the experience you cannot bring any form of money. No food, drinks, candy, or gum. No electronic devices such as phones, iPads, or handheld games. No camping gear with the exception of a sleeping bag. No watches and jewelry.

The event is an opportunity for housed individuals to experience homelessness. Also to promote advocacy, awareness, and education for homelessness. 

"There is no singular way you can stimulate homelessness unless you are homeless," ETHNN Mark Richardson said. "What we try to do is give them a taste of what it's like."

ETHNN will have a reflection time tonight where the volunteers will talk about what they have learned and how it makes them feel, along with 4 people sharing their stories on surviving homelessness. 

The evening will be proceeded buy a candlelight vigil and a prayer honor those who have died on the streets without a home.

Exceptions will be made for those with medical problems and Tyler Police Department will be there with the volunteers.

"If you didn't join us this year, we hope you consider next year we usual do it the first of November and if you would like to volunteer with ETHNN you can visit ethnn.org" Richardson said.

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