invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 3 MILLION kids are without homes. H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S Kids. I don't get it. Are we willing to discard these kids? Not me. So this blog will relentlessly focus on this issue, hoping to light a spark to fuel a compassion epidemic. Chime in, argue, but do something....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rolling Thunder, Changing Lives

Storms like this are a dime a dozen in Illinois as well as many other states. We never expect disaster to befall us, but who is immune?

With all the natural disasters in the news I struggle to imagine what millions of people are doing to survive the indescribable suffering they are continuing to experience. I'm sorry, but my mind can't wrap around how the cyclone would devastate my world or how the earthquake could disrupt my life. And I'm painfully aware how the geographic distance diminishes my horror or compassion to suffering of millions of children and adults.

I'm listening to a gentle thunderstorm roll through DeKalb tonight. So normal. So soothing. And yet a tornado could be spawned that could change my life forever. We never know, which is why they're called freak acts of nature.

As I review the 31 hours of logs from our interviews that Laura has painstakingly transcribed, I can't help but think of the suffering of each of the homeless families we've interviewed. Some women were almost destined to a life of suffering, being dealt a hand that included horrific abuse and other traumas. Two families had episodic homelessness--one time events that caused their loss- of housing. Both were 2-parent families. Both seem likely to escape further homelessness.

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that 2-parent families are the answer, please give some serious thought to the issue of sexual abuse of minors and domestic violence. Both those factors are all-too-common when it comes to homelessness and poverty. Throw in the realities of how we treat women in this world and you will be a little more understanding as to why this country has a huge problem with invisible homeless women and families. Yes, it's nice to have the "Ozzie and Harriet" world, but it's not real.

Seems to me that since ours is a less-than-perfect society, one which seems to accept, if not condone, abuse of minors and women, perhaps we should look for ways to help them piece their lives together--quality counseling, supportive services, safe and affordable housing options, drug/alcohol treatment options. Until we do, let's not bemoan the "poor choices" of women and kids who endure destructive forces in their fragile lives.

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