The HEAR US LEARNING CURVE EXPRESS gives homeless families and teens a chance to be heard. And they need it like never before. In the dozens of years I've been working on this issue, the plight of homeless families and youth, as well as single adults, has never been more dismal.
Yes, we have a new administration in DC. President Obama, with his plate chock-full of critical issues, is trying his best. But it's not good enough. And lots of "other forces" are competing--with lots more resources and, well, let's say less compassion.
We're moving into winter--not that weather is the only dire factor with homelessness--but it's not to be ignored. Especially for kids.
Families and youth often don't get into shelters. Some communities don't have shelters. Sometimes people don't qualify for emergency housing or opt out for a variety of reasons--work schedule conflicts with shelter curfews, older boys are not allowed at the family shelter, pets are not allowed, etc. So they turn to a patchwork quilt of friends, family and/or motels. Or sleep in vehicles or tents. It's often not a pretty sight. (articles about homeless families/youth)
So far I've interviewed:
Laura and her 2 teen sons, from a rural town in Indiana, bounces from her parent's dilapidated single-wide trailer to other family and friends. They sleep on the floor. The trailer has holes in the floor and the family is too poor to pay for repairs.
From DeKalb, IL, Cathy and her 3 daughters struggled in a variety of places, family and friends' houses and expensive motels. All had their painful downsides.
In DuPage County (IL), Jacob and his sister tell of life in motels, where the entire family crammed in and tried to endure.
These families and teens on their own haven't registered a blip on the convoluted agenda driving Congressional priorities. But they need to.
So these courageous spokespersons will be sharing their stories with viewers everywhere, including their members of Congress. HEAR US will facilitate, but these experts will shine a light on this often invisible plight. (watch for these stories soon!)
HEAR US is joining forces with the National Center on Family Homelessness and their End Child Homelessness campaign. We're not kidding. We need to end child homelessness NOW!
If you want to help, check our HEAR US Compassion Epidemic info and alerts. Or not.
Seems to me if we can ignore homeless kids in this country, it takes us down a slippery slope. I don't want to go there. I bet you don't either.
photos by the author