In Press Releases

Triangle Executives Sleep Out in Durham, Raise Awareness of Homelessness & Poverty


Date: September 11, 2015

Contact: Irene Godínez, 919-627-7511,
Melanie Davis-Jones, 919-523-5523,


Over a dozen area executives participated in the 4th annual CEO Sleep Out event in Durham to build awareness of “invisible” issues such as hunger, homelessness and poverty in our community. Despite the many accolades that our Triangle area is known for, on any given night there are 2,000 homeless Triangle community members and nearly 200,000 people in our community living in poverty, 60,000 of which are children.

This year’s focus was on addressing the issue of homelessness and impacts of poverty on children’s early learning. The event programming included a housing simulation to give participants a deeper understanding of the complexities of the housing system, as well as panel presentations led by two of United Way’s 24 collaborative partners—Durham Collaborative to End Family Homelessness and Close the Gap—sharing why it is essential to work together to address some of these complex challenges in our area.

In comments today, Mack Koonce, President and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) said, “We have come together in the same spirit of unity that bound our nation together 14 years ago after the profound national tragedy, to affirm that we must continue to come together for community change.” He continued, “No one sets out to be homeless or to live in poverty; we can all do a little more to make sure that if someone finds themselves in those circumstances, that their humanity is recognized and that we work towards solutions, together.”

Through this event, United Way and its partners provide a unique perspective on poverty in our area to area CEOs, executives, and elected officials. Participants left with a greater understanding of the challenges faced by many of our community members. They committed to having conversations about addressing these challenges and continuing to build awareness and action around issues of homelessness and poverty.

“This is always a profound experience,” remarked Farad Ali, UWGT board member. “What we endure on a single night is a reminder that this is reality for too many of our neighbors.”