I know what you were thinking when you opened this—another letter from a charity asking you to give money to make a difference for a child, a puppy, or a cause. Perhaps you have already decided where to give your time and contributions. However, I hope that you will still take the time to read about the work I do.
I am a Street Outreach Specialist for Housing Forward, I am also a single mom with two young girls. During the day, some nights, and even some weekends, I spend hours in the community looking for, and connecting with, the families of young moms like me who may be homeless. Sometimes I even put my own children to bed in the care of my mother and go out to see if there are people spending the night on the street that I can help.
I know where to look. I can often find homeless moms and their children in fast food restaurants. You know, the ones with the play centers attached? They can relax a little there, knowing they can stay put and the kids can play, just like all the other kids.
I spend a lot of time thinking about those moms. I know there is a very fine line between their situations and mine. I know how easy it is was for them to become homeless without money, a job, or people who care about them. It is their stories that motivate me the most.
I am fueled by my work, but also grateful for your financial support. Thanks to you, I am able to continue helping these moms and their families who don’t have a stable place to call home.
Every situation in which a family becomes homeless is heart-breaking. This Spring, I met another young mom staying in an abandoned store with her two children. She refused to come to the shelter due to the trauma she experienced from past sexual abuse. We met for months before she opened up to me. I could feel her desire to protect her children by any means necessary. She accepted personal care items from me, but not much more. Sometimes it takes a long time to earn someone’s trust so that I can assess the situation and find a solution that works for them. Eventually, the family was housed and got additional services as well.
Now, I know that telling my stories typically makes people feel downhearted. They ask themselves, “What can I do? The problem seems too great.” Believe me, I know that feeling. But I also know that if we can help one person at a time—one mom at a time—one family at a time—we CAN make a difference. We CAN end homelessness one family at a time, and you can help by making a donation so my work can continue.
On behalf of the people that I will meet and connect with tonight on the streets of our community, thank you.
I couldn’t do this work without you.
Housing Forward Street Outreach Specialist