Mark Featherstonhaugh has never had to worry about having a roof over his head. But he and other university students have given up the comfort of home to find out what it's like to live on the streets.

Students at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are joining others at 21 schools across the country to spend five days sleeping outside.

In Ottawa, the students are using the experience to gain insight into homelessness. They're also raising money and awareness for Operation Come Home, a non-profit organization that aims to get youth off the streets.

The students only have the clothes on their backs, they don't have access to showers and they have to sleep outside.

"It's quite easy just to stand inside and say: ‘Hey, give money for youth homelessness,' but I think this kind of hits more close to home for a lot of people," said Featherstonhaugh, a fourth-year Carleton University student.

At the University of Ottawa, students taking part there can only eat food that is donated. Although they're sleeping in a tent, they say the experience is nothing like camping.

It's a challenge thousands of homeless people in Canada face every day. For the students, they only have to spend five days on the streets. And they still have a few more to go.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes