By Eleanor Beeslaar, HRI Graduate Assistant
Having a place to call home is an important of creating a warm and secure family environment where happy, healthy, and safe relationships can thrive. Unfortunately, many families across the country, throughout North Carolina, and right here in Guilford County are experiencing homelessness. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), adults and children in families make up about 35 percent of the homeless population in the United States. In January 2017, an estimated 184,661 people in families were identified as homeless, and almost 17,000 people in families were living on the street, in a car, or in another place not meant for human habitation (NAEH, 2018).
Homelessness does not discriminate and can greatly impact the health and well-being of families. Family homelessness is the result of a variety of diverse factors; however, the most significant causes of homelessness are poverty, domestic violence, a lack of affordable housing, or unexpected events, such as the loss of a job, a sudden illness or injury, and the loss of a spouse/partner (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2011).
Families experiencing homelessness undergo considerable amounts of stress as they wonder where they will sleep or how and when they will receive their next meal. They must endure frequent transitions as they move between the homes of relatives and friends, campsites, cars, or shelters, and they are often faced with a lack of privacy as they stay in these different settings (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2011). Children are not unfamiliar with the effects of family homelessness, and can often feel the stress as their parents (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2011). Homelessness has a large impact on children’s education, health, safety, and overall development (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2011).
As a community, we have the power to help families currently experiencing or in the transition from homeslessness by building a nest of support. On December 1st, HRI will be partnering with The Salvation Army, Sesame Street in Communities, the Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro, Partnership for Children in Guilford County, and Greensboro Urban Ministry to host the Winterfest Early Childhood Resource Festival! These community organizations provide many helpful resources to support families in Guilford County who are experiencing the effects of homelessness. This event is an opportunity for families to meet these organizations and learn about the resources and supports they provide, such as child care resources, financial wellbeing, job preparation, health and wellness, and family relationships. Winterfest is a free event with food and fun children’s activities, including story time with a new book from Sesame Street in Communities! Click here for more information!
As you were reading, you may have been wondering what you can do to help these families. A great way for community members to families to get involved in ending homelessness is to volunteer with a local organization that provides services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog, where we will highlight each of the organizations above and provide information about the services and resources they provide!
- National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2018). Children and Families. Retrieved from https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/who-experiences-homelessness/children-and-families/
- National Center on Family Homelessness. (2011). The Characteristics and Needs of Families Experiencing Homelessness. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED535499.pdf