MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On any given night, homeless youth could fill more than half the hotel rooms in downtown Minneapolis.

The numbers are on the rise and now a group of executives are working together to bring awareness to this issue and to raise money.

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Some 105 CEOs will take part in a Night of Hope to help benefit homeless youth.

“Sometimes you don’t know when your next meal is,” said Amanda, a 22-year-old woman who’s dealt with homeless.

She is one of the more than 2,000 young people who use YouthLink as a resource.

“When you’re broken, you don’t look at yourself as if you’re worth doing something for,” Amanda said.

She says that most young people forced to live on the streets feel unwanted, have no hope, and no direction, until they discover YouthLink.

“Housing, they helped me with food, medical, all of it,” Amanda said. “When it comes down to it, they have made my life what it is now, I’m on a straight track because of them.”

Stories like Amanda’s moved 3M’s Michele Whylie.

She came up with the idea to develop a fundraiser where executives sleep outside and learn what it’s like to be young and on the streets.

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“Let’s raise awareness about the issue of youth homelessness so the community is aware, let’s raise funds financially and then let’s build a community of supports going forward,” Whylie said.

Amanda says what Whylie is doing is a “big deal” to people like her.

“We don’t really have a lot of people in our corner, and the people we do have are trying to fight their hardest and bring other people to the realization that this is real,” she said.

Amanda hopes this night of hope brings YouthLink lifelong friends, who support its mission to help youth like her find their path.

“”ecause some of us don’t have our parents, some of us were left,” she said.

Executives will get tours of the facility and take a field trip to the places some young people sleep when they have nowhere to go.

“I’m hoping that at the end of this night that we all walk away together with some action that we can solve this issue of youth homelessness,” YouthLink executive director Dr. Heather Huseby said.

The Night of Hope happens Sunday. More than 100 executives will sleep outside at YouthLink after their tour.

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YouthLink needs financial support from the community. If you’d like to donate, click here.

Reg Chapman