Vic Mensa Held a Sleep Out to Raise Money for Chicago’s Homeless Youth

The Chicago rapper helped raise more than $13,000.

Vic Mensa brought some needed attention to Chicago’s homeless youth crisis this week.

On Thursday night, the rapper co-hosted a “Sleep Out” on 47th Street in the Bronzeville neighborhood of his hometown. Leading a group of local activists, Mensa camped and eventually slept alongside members of his SaveMoneySaveLife organization, live-streaming the 12-hour action across a number of social channels. “Waking up on 47th street this morning was kinda surreal. So many of us go our whole lives in arms length distance of people living on the streets but a single night in their experience is almost unfathomable,” Mensa reflected on Instagram on Friday (see below.)

Sleep Out: Chicago was held by Covenant House Illinois, who collaborates with local artists and organizations to raise money for homeless youth across the state. According to SaveMoneySaveLife, the event added $13,245 to CHI’s initiative, which has now raised more than $300,000 to serve the state’s unsheltered youth population. In Chicago alone, there are more than 8,000 homeless children under the age of 18, per a report from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS.)

Speaking with TMZ Live, Mensa explained how he was inspired to get involved when he learned how black kids represented a vastly disproportionate number of those homeless youths.”40% of the youth experiencing homelessness are black. And when I started to learn some of those stats, learning that 50% of the families experiencing homelessness are black, learning that 80% of the students, the kids that are in school and experiencing homelessness, are black, I was like, ‘those numbers are staggering,'” Mensa said.

You can see some scenes from Vic Mensa and Covenant House Illinois’ sleep out in Chicago below. Both CHI and SaveMoneySaveLife are still accepting donations. You can make a pledge here and here.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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