Today’s guest post comes to us from Alliance Program and Policy Analyst Andre Wade.
Last week I met three extraordinary young mothers during a tour of The Night Ministry’s Response-Ability Pregnant and Parenting Program in Chicago. All three described growing up without much support from their families, all three slept in parks, trains, and couch surfed to get by.
One of these women shared with me that while she was focusing on just making it day-to-day, it didn’t quite hit her that she was, in fact, experiencing homelessness until she was confronted with the question at a social service office.
Are you homeless?
She then realized the truth: yes, I am homeless.
All three of these women told me they are determined that their struggles not limit their futures.
In their program, they learn about life skills, budgeting, job training, and education. The 8-bed, 8-crib shelter dedicated to homeless pregnant and parenting teens offers the supportive services these vulnerable young people need in order to advance themselves and their families.
These young women are hardly the only ones experiencing the plight of homelessness alone with their children. And still, their stories are often sidestepped as policies and programs aim to deal with their adult counterparts.
But if these young women showed me anything at all, it’s that the right interventions can end youth homelessness – and the time to address this critical sector of the homeless population is long overdue.