Dozens of local leaders in the public and private sectors spent a night in the shoes of the homeless Friday night as part of an awareness and fundraising campaign.

As a part of "One Homeless Night...Too Many," leaders camped outside for the night at Normandin Middle School and discussed ways to help the area's homeless population.

Individuals with firsthand experience with being homeless, like Amanda, spoke with those in attendance to provide some insight on who actually becomes homeless.

"I never expected to be homeless either," Amanda tells WBSM News. "I had a four-bedroom house and i didn't expect to ever be homeless. But it happens to the best of us and there is help out there, people just don't know about it, you know?"

Amanda has since received assistance from Catholic Social Services and has a job and a roof over her head.

Tiana Edwards is a UMass Dartmouth student and part of a group dedicated to serving the hungry and the homeless. She says having community leaders discuss solutions is key to addressing these problems.

"I think it's necessary that the people that are in charge of making some of these important decisions show up to activities and outings like this and see what's really going on in the city," said Edwards.

President and CEO of First Citizens Federal Credit Union Peter Muise says the goal of the night was to get people talking about what's really going on and to break down many of the myths surrounding the homeless.

"Really the key about this was pulling people together in an area we can spend some time to have a discussion around homelessness," Muise said.

Along with the conversations about what to do, another part of the campaign is to raise money for more services, especially during the winter months.

Participants slept in tents and cardboard boxes, and ate their dinner from the Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck.

Greg Desrosiers/TSM
Greg Desrosiers/TSM

Those interested in making a donation can mail a check to Rise Up for Homes at First Citizens Federal Credit Union at 200 Mill Rd in Fairhaven. You can also text RISEUP to 51055.

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