'Box City' provides homelessness learning experience


DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – Millikin University students experienced firsthand just what it’s like to be homeless.

The Millikin campus community is spending Friday night in cardboard boxes on the Miller Quad on campus. The idea behind the program is to bring awareness to homelessness and hunger issues in Illinois, with students potentially finding an accurate viewpoint of what a homeless person goes through.

The Human Service Connection at Millikin and the Macon County Continuum of Care organized Box City.

“I mean, there (are) 550,000 people in the United States experiencing homelessness,” said HSC President Ashley Wood. “(In addition), 130 individuals in Macon County alone (experienced) homelessness in 2016. I think it’s important to really bring awareness to our community about the homeless population.”

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 19. It’s meant to be a time for people to reflect on homelessness issues in the week before Thanksgiving.

When the people involved in Box City wake up on Saturday morning, they’ll visit a program on homelessness, held at the Salvation Army and put on by the Men’s Emergency Shelter. The program is happening from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Box City activities started at 5 p.m. on Friday night.

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