SUMMIT — A New Jersey-based nonprofit, Family Promise, continues to work to prevent and end family homelessness, both in the Garden State and across the nation.

It will host its 3rd annual “Night Without a Bed” social media challenge and event aimed at raising awareness of family homelessness, on Saturday, Oct. 22.

At Family Promise based in Summit, they refer to the issue of family homelessness as an invisible crisis, said Mitchell Petit-Frere, because more often than not, families who are experiencing homelessness sleep in their cars, at a cheap motel, or crash with other family relatives or friends.

So, during “Night Without a Bed,” participants are asked to spend the night in the back seat of their car, on the floor inside their house, maybe on their deck outside, or in a tent in a park, Petit-Frere said.

Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Beth Bojarski)
Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Beth Bojarski)

“We ask people to sleep in those places, take a picture or a video of their night without a bed, post it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, maybe even Tik Tok and use the hashtag #NightWithoutABed2022,” he said.

They can even post a short description of their experiences sleeping somewhere else besides the comfort of their own bed.

In the run-up to the event, Petit-Frere said there will be an annual virtual meetup called “Family Promise Week.” Family Promise is a national organization with affiliates in over 200 communities across the country, he said.

Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Mitchell Petit-Frere)
Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Mitchell Petit-Frere)

This is a chance for them on social media to highlight the work that they’ve been doing to raise awareness about homelessness on a national level from the east coast, down south to the west coast, and out to the Hawaiian Islands.

While this is the third year for “Night Without a Bed,” Petit-Frere said this is the second time Family Promise is asking for donations. Last year, Family Promise raised more than $100,000 from "Night Without a Bed."

“We’re asking people on their social media posts about spending the night without a bed, to obviously post their picture or video, but then also challenge three to five friends to either participate in “Night Without a Bed” or donate $10 to Family Promise,” Petit-Frere said.

Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Claas Ehlers)
Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Claas Ehlers)

By the end of 2022, we can expect over 2.5 million children to experience homelessness, which is an incredibly sobering statistic, he said. Also, 1 in 19 kids under the age of 6 will experience homelessness before they enter the first grade, he added.

In New Jersey, nearly 10,000 people experience homelessness on any given night in the state, according to The National Low Income Housing Coalition.

There are only 32 affordable rental homes that exist per 100 extremely low-income renter households in New Jersey, according to the coalition.

In 2021, 2,261 families were served by Family Promise’s 14 New Jersey affiliates.

Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Mike Chapuran)
Night Without a Bed (Photo Credit: Mike Chapuran)

The goal of “Night Without a Bed” is to help people understand that family homelessness is not what many may think, Petit-Frere said.

When people think of someone experiencing homelessness, many think of a middle-aged man in a big city, sitting on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign.

But he said, in reality, it’s families with children who are sleeping in their cars, sheltering in low-cost hotels, or doubling up with family and friends.

“We want people to understand that this is a crisis that is happening probably in their own communities,” Petit-Frere said.

For more information about “Night Without a Bed” and how to participate, visit here.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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