IOCP Sleep Out 2008: Annual Campaign During Tough Economy Raises Challenge to Respond to Housing Needs in Western Suburbs


Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP) is launching its 13th annual Sleep Out Campaign to raise awareness of the need and funds for affordable housing in the communities it serves. Given the financial crisis and rising rate of foreclosures in the suburbs, families IOCP serves are facing housing challenges unlike ever before.

“To fully meet the basic housing needs of the people we serve, we need to raise $2 million,” said LaDonna Hoy, IOCP executive director. “Our real goal is to be able to respond to the requests of more than 900 families in the coming year.”

Funds raised during the Sleep Out represent IOCP’s entire housing budget for the year and 42 percent of the organization’s total annual budget. Sleep Out funds are used to address the emergency housing needs of low-income families and individuals, and to pursue affordable housing developments. More than half—58 percent—of the families IOCP provides housing services for need help one to two months in order to stabilize their situation.

“Our theme for this year’s Sleep Out, ‘The Community That Can,’ reflects the capacity of this community to respond,” added Hoy. “This community has the means, the heart, and the will to rise to the challenge, as it does every year.” The campaign runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 23, 2008.

Increased Need

Four issues IOCP clients face have contributed to the increased need:
  • Their incomes are outstripped by the rising cost of living. While the median income for a family of four in the metro area is $80,900, 85 percent of the families IOCP serves earn less than half that amount—$40,450 or less.
  • The rate of foreclosures in the western suburbs is increasing. In the past year, 218 homes were foreclosed in IOCP’s service area (155 in Plymouth, 23 in Orono, 18 in Wayzata, 10 in Medina, 9 in Long Lake, 3 in Hamel).
  • The demand for affordable housing options far exceeds the supply. The Metropolitan Council projects that the IOCP service area will need 1,829 affordable housing units by 2020; currently, there are none under construction.
  • Due to the foreclosure crisis and the economy, homelessness is increasing rapidly. Since March 2008, there has been nearly a 25 percent increase in the number of families staying in homeless shelters in Hennepin County. The cost for a parent and two kids to stay in a shelter for one month is $2,700, compared to IOCP’s average rent assistance of $569.

Sleep Out Events

  • The Sleep Out Campaign begins with a communitywide Kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 15, 6–8 p.m., at Klapprich Park, 300 E. Wayzata Blvd., in Wayzata. Kare 11’s Mike Pomeranz will serve as emcee; speakers include LaDonna Hoy, Sleep Out founder Bob Fisher, and U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad. Community members are invited to gather pledges and sleep out at the park following the Kickoff.
  • General Mills and Cargill will host their 2nd annual sleep outs on Friday, Nov. 21. General Mills will have their sleep out at Klapprich Park, and Cargill will hold theirs at their Wayzata headquarters.
  • Former Minnesota Twins star Corey Koskie and Sleep Out founder Bob Fisher are holding a “sleep in” at the Wayzata Bay Center on Saturday, Nov. 22, inviting anyone to gather pledges and join them in sleeping in cars. Their goal is to raise $56,900.
  • On Dec. 11, 6 p.m., families who have benefited from the long-term housing work of IOCP are hosting an appreciation gathering at the first IOCP-sponsored home, 325 Barry Ave., Wayzata, for the individuals and organizations that have worked with IOCP to create affordable housing opportunities in the IOCP service area.

Sleep Out History

In 1996, Wayzata shoe repairman Bob Fisher slept outside in a tent to raise money to buy Thanksgiving dinners for 100 families in the community. In two weeks, Fisher raised $10,000. In subsequent discussions between Fisher and IOCP, he became aware that the most pressing need facing IOCP clients was housing. So he resolved to sleep out each year, dedicating the funds he raised to help meet the housing needs of families in IOCP’s service area.

During the subsequent years, the campaign attracted increasingly broad involvement. During the 12-year history of the Sleep Out, about 3,200 community members—including businesses, churches, youth and civic groups—have raised more than $9 million to support IOCP’s emergency housing services and long-term housing solutions.

About IOCP

Begun in 1979, IOCP is a community-based outreach organization serving struggling families and individuals living in Hamel, Long Lake, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Plymouth, and Wayzata.

The mission of IOCP is to identify and respond to the basic unmet needs of people in our community, and to assist them in moving toward self-sufficiency through the creative action of an inclusive partnership of communities of faith, schools, government, businesses, community groups, foundations, health systems, and individuals.

For More Information, contact: Lenore Franzen (651-442-4271 or or Jill Kohler (952-404-9388 or

IOCP 110 Grand Ave. Wayzata MN 55391 (952) 473-2436


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