“These are people who want to do better – and with a helping hand – can do better.”– Chris Henson, COO, BB&T
Chairman, Winston-Salem’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
Chairman, Campaign for The SECU Commons
Homeless families have been increasing as a proportion of the homeless population due in large part to financial factors driven by a protracted weak economy. In fact, from 2008 to 2012 the poverty rate for married-couple families with children has more than doubled in Forsyth County. At the same time, most homeless programs are focused on people who are chronically homeless and single male adults. Parents have additional hurdles to address when they become homeless – child care, schooling, transportation, housing and food for their family – before they can begin taking care of themselves.
Families tend to be less visible because they avoid homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other typical homeless venues in order to protect their children and keep their families together. Challenges include:
- Limited education
- Job skills that are in less demand or have atrophied
- Overwhelming logistic and time demands – food, clothing, healthcare, childcare, school, training, job search or work – all with limited transportation access
- Search for safe housing is constant, sometimes living in cars, sheds or in unsafe abandoned buildings
- Very limited supply of housing for homeless families in Winston-Salem
- Limited family support structures
These families are just like yours. The difference is that unemployment and financial issues have devastated them. Now they need a steady hand to regain their footing.