Houses for Change a Family Promise Endeavor
by Jennifer Shakeel
In 2015 alone, more than 2.5 million parents and children will experience homelessness. That is 1 out of every 30 children in this country.
Homelessness is the number one ignored epidemic that our country faces. Ignored because most people fail to realize that in the blink of an eye it could be them… it could be their children. How many times have you driven or walked by a homeless person on the street… or a family sleeping in a car and thought, “They must not have worked hard enough,” or something along those lines?
The fact of the matter is, the homeless population is made up of people from all walks of life. On a typical night in the United States of America there are more than 578,000 people homeless. For right now I want to go back to the 2.5 million that makes up families. In most states across our nation there are a variety of shelters and programs that in design are there to help those that end up homeless. But did you know that the majority of those programs don’t help families as a whole. Often families are broken up into a couple of different shelters based on the make-up of the family and the ages of the members.
Family Promise is one of the rare organizations that not only strives to end homelessness but that does everything they can to keep the family unit together, regardless of how that family is made up. Meaning single dads with kids… single moms with kids… kids that are over the age of 12 can stay with their parent(s)… grandparents that are raising grandkids… caregivers of children. Family Promise is an interfaith based organization that will help the family unit stay get back on their feet.
It’s important to note that not only do they help families overcome being homeless, but they also work to spread awareness about homelessness so that they the epidemic can be “cured.”
One project that they do is called Houses for Change. Houses for Change is an event done typically with youth groups to help raise awareness about homelessness and encourage youth to get involved by volunteering and or raising money.
Cardboard houses are put together, decorated while conversation is had over the difference between “needs” and “wants” as well what it means to share to help others. Created by long time Family Promise volunteer Mark Wasserman, the purpose to engage young people in the issue of homelessness. There has been more than $500,000 raised by more than 40,000 children while creating saving and charity values that will last them a lifetime.
It is that time of year where everyone is doing what they can to help those that are less fortunate. That is one of the joys of the holidays, we all come together for a greater good. Homelessness though doesn’t only happen during the holidays, and using Houses for Change doesn’t have to stem from holiday fundraising. It is actually something that any organization can take part in and help raise money for the charity of their choice.
So it is never too late to help a family, to raise awareness and help in the fight to bring an end to the epidemic of homelessness.
News coverage from a recent event:
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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