Ahhh ….. the shelter system, first thing that comes to mind for people to go to who are about to become or already are homeless…..right? Wrong! There are many reasons why a lot of people choose not to go to shelters, the first one being that shelters may not be an option if there’s a lack of shelters to go to in addition to the fact that shelters have to turn people away because they can only take so many people.
I posted an article on We Are Visible today to get feedback from the homeless community to find out how many opted out of going to shelters and hopefully they will mention why they chose not to go to a shelter. For my kids and I, we couldn’t get into one when I tried, several times! Hence the reasons for living out of a 1981 Minnie Winnebago (and now a mini-van).
I’m not saying that there aren’t good shelters out there because I know for a fact there are. Take Path Achieve Glendale for instance. The folks here are deeply committed to doing everything they can to move folks from homelessness into permanent housing and they are one of the shelters that deal with families. Did you know that in many cities, families are split up because there are men only or women and children only shelters?
Have you ever heard of Wellspring House in Massachusetts? They were featured on CBS and treat homeless residents as guests. It be nice if all shelters could have the same positive attitudes as those who set the standards on what a shelter should strive for when helping the homeless. Unfortunately, the reality is that many shelters miss that and some are downright dangerous places to be. When’s the last time anybody checked how much was being spent on security at shelters?
How about hearing from the homeless themselves regarding their experiences with shelters? What they have to say is very enlightening. Often times it’s more dangerous for single women to be homeless let alone a single mother with kids. Essays by Carey Roberts about what goes on at some shelters is a real eye opener!
Before suggesting “help” for the homeless, know what you’re talking about first. Assuming that there’s resources to go to is a careless assumption but then that pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? You actually have to care enough to find out. Kudos to the shelters and the dedicated staff that go above and beyond the call of duty to get folks out of homelessness. You aren’t thanked enough in my opinion!
Happy Monday everybody!