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Ohio, United States
Happily married for lots of years to great guy, mother of one wonderful daughter. I have lots of interests and wished I had more time to explore them all.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A SHOCKING Fact about Homelessness

Did you know the average age of a homeless person Nationally is a 9 year old child? Think of the 9 year children you know, those who live next door, those in your classroom if you teach school, those nieces, nephews, grandchildren and children not only in your family; but in the families of people you know. I'm betting the news that the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old makes you sad, makes you shudder, makes you sigh with a heavy heart. Don't despair and throw up your hands, join me and others here on Bridge and Beyond and help us build a bridge from Homelessness to Hope. That's being done everyday through The Homeless Families Foundation. The Foundation provides shelter, guidance, and after school programming to keep children and their families safe until such time they can move into permanent housing.

There are many stories of how families become homeless and their struggles. A sad statistic is the children. Children typically fall 2 years behind their counterparts in school. When you don't know if you'll have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, or a meal it's awfully hard to focus on learning. The Foundation provides the safety net of a place to live (temporary housing for up to 3 months), they also provide day to day essentials. While counselors work with the adults to provide them with the tools they need to successfully care for their families (jobs and housing), they work with the children; planting the seeds of hope. After school programs, and summer programs provide safe, educational and enrichment programs to help the children reach their potential. Hot meals are provided, along with homework assistance through the Dowd Center.

This year The Homeless Families Foundation celebrates it's 25th anniversary, helping families since 1986.

As you know we knit, we crochet, and we loom all year long. Throughout the summer months I'm able to stock pile your wonderful and thoughtful donations to be ready when summer ends to care for those in need. We've supplied hats, scarves, mittens, slippers, socks, and personal care items to men and women living outdoors in the elements (Bridge folks), Faith Mission both the day to day portion for men, Nancy Place for Women, 2 Free Clinics who care for Mothers and Children in need, Holy Family (feeds hundreds of homeless and others in need daily), and now The Homeless Families Foundation.

The work you do does make a difference, each and everyday.


**September is Scarf Month, and we're having another contest.
From now until October 8, I'll toss names into a hat for everyone who donates a scarf for a teen or adult...male or female. Feeling like we need to bump those numbers a bit and will draw the winning name from the hat and send out another box of yarn. Contests are fun. We've had several fun, productive, and successful contests. Every scarf donated for a teen or adult (at least 5 inches wide and 5 feet or longer please), will qualify. **

2011 Donations:

Scarves 285
Hats 581
Mitts 133
Socks 115
Squares 454
Rain Ponchos 80
Cotton Washcloths 305
Sweaters/Poncho's 6
Slippers 86
Afghans 33 (2 sent to our friends at Pine Street)

My challenge for you all (besides continuing to knit and crochet and loom), is to tell at least 1 person today about homelessness. Tell one person today about the problem and the need for their help.

THANK YOU for all you do, keep up the good work!

All donations regardless of size and number are valued. All donations are appreciated, and all donations keep someone warm. We help, one stitch at a time. YOU truly DO make a difference. THANK YOU!

11 comments:

  1. dear Sandy -- you know how to get me away from whining about ants in my microwave. There are so many that can be helped so much, with just a little. You are a shining star to help us navigate. I finished that scarf and am starting another. Another little box will come your way soon! Sandie, in FL

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  2. 9? wow. I'm having a hard time getting my head around that. And more so my heart. That single statistic shatters my former belief system. I am ashamed to say that in my tiny little mind, I believed that the majority of homeless were in such a condition as a result of poor choices but still could with some help and support learn and make better choices. It never in my wildest dreams occurred to me that the average homeless person has had NO choice in the matter and couldn't even if he/she wanted to, change that condition. A child. Not knowing where he/she will sleep tonight. Worrying as the fall sets in - not about the local football games - but if where they are staying will let him stay there in the cold and how he/she will get woke up to go to school. About maybe having to register in a new school. About all the things no 9 year old should have to worry. About the safety of where they are staying. My heart breaks. How can I, we be so blind? 9. Your challenge for today is by far the most important you've set for us. I don't know how anyone could know that fact and NOT do something. Thank you. Thank you for making me cry this beautiful fall morning. For opening my clouded mind to the reality that is more that the plastic fall decorations that adorn my tiny little world. This single fact shifts my beliefs from an "issue" to an emergency - because for the "average" homeless person, where he/she sleeps and how to get to school the next day is of emergency proportions. 9?! You've rocked my world - and not in a good way - but in a way that needed to happen. Awareness is a must.

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  3. Sandie, good luck getting rid of your aunts in the microwave, thanks for the heads up about your scarf and many thanks for your help.

    psmflowerlady, thank you for your very thoughtful comment. When we were kids growing up, the word hobo was used a lot, it seemed to be men who rode the rails who needed a helping hand here and there; the problem grew, somewhere along the line the word bum came to be used to describe these people...homelessness is such a sad state affairs. Some have chosen to go off the grid, some have made bad choices, some and far too many are simply caught. I'm extremely grateful that we have the capacity to help this latter group through the latest addition to our mission, The Homeless Families Foundation.

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  4. WOW!!!!! What an eye opener! Once again, especially in this economy......there but the grace of God go I! Or my 10 and 4 year old grandson's! I have pretty much focused on making things for adults. I think I will take this fall/winter to make things for the kids! Thanks, Sandy for this enlightening, thought provoking read!

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  5. Thanks for swinging by Sally. I tend to get more items for kids currently so hope everyone doesn't switch to making things from adults to kids. I'm trying to show the need reaches far and wide, young and old, male and female.

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  6. O.K.,Sandy. I will keep going on the adults things, but will make some kids things just to mix it up a bit.

    Did my package arrive?

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  7. Shocking to really think about this issue and to try to put a face to homeless youth. The work you do is so important!

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  8. I'm so thankful not to be homeless, but I'm currently living in a home without heat/hot water or a working telephone, limited amounts of food, no cable (cable, what's cable?), no cell phone, we'll probably have the internet turned off soon because I know that bill hasn't been paid, and we probably can't live here much longer because the rent is SO behind. The only utility we have that's paid for is electric, currently. We don't have car insurance and my husband's driver's license is expired. We have a cracked windshield so we could get pulled over at any time. That terrifies me. We often wonder if hubby will have enough gas to get to work. But he has to take all those risks every day if he wants to work so he can make enough money to buy car insurance and update his license. Hopefully luck is on our side for a few weeks until he gets his first few paychecks (he just started this job recently) and can correct those circumstances. If he gets pulled over for anything at all, we're in trouble. Aside from that, I never thought I would have to worry about my son being cold when he sleeps at night or worry that we won't have any food for him at dinner time. It's embarrassing. I feel ashamed that I brought a child into this world when I can't afford to give him what he deserves. I feel guilty that I'm pregnant again. But this can happen to anyone. At least we have electric and a roof over our head for now, and hubby will get his first paycheck in a week. Mom-in-law's car is almost paid off and then she can get get cheaper car insurance and she'll have a few hundred dollars more each month to spend on bills. Even though things will probably get better soon, this experience has been an eye opener for me.

    I, too, used to think that homeless people really brought it upon themselves. I thought that they made bad decisions and would be able to get back on their feet if they'd "wise up". But none of the people in this home (my husband, mother-in-law, and myself) have chosen to be lazy and none of us are addicted to any harmful substances or behaviors which are holding us back in life. We're just normal people who can't manage to make enough money to pay all the bills. Food, gas for work, and car payments come before all the other bills because if mom-in-law and hubby can't get to work, we'll never be able to get back on our feet. Now I believe that most homeless people are probably just down on their luck like we are and don't have anyone to turn to for help.

    Thanks for letting everyone know about the reality of homelessness Sandy. Perhaps one of the saddest things about homelessness is that many Americans place BLAME on those who are unfortunate enough to be homeless. All it takes is a series of unfortunate events to happen all at once and anyone could lose everything.

    Please, everyone who reads this, realize that not everyone who lives in poverty "deserves" it. There are people just like you who live in poverty or who don't have a home at all. Poverty and homelessness are NOT always the result of irresponsible behavior, drug/alcohol addiction, or laziness. I don't think I ever could have realized when I was financially stable just how significant a hot shower or a hot dinner can actually be for someone living in poverty.

    And also, please, every time you go out to eat, get a hot shower, or buy something (anything), appreciate it. Because those things are truly special things. I hope I never take a hot shower or a good meal for granted again once this whole financial crisis is over. Life is too short to breeze through it and it's far too easy forget to appreciate every little thing. But please try to notice all the hundreds or thousands of little moments you experience every day that make you luckier than some.

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  9. Anna - thank you for sharing your story. Another reminder of "there but for the grace of God, go I". Know that you and your family are in my prayers. So very many of us live so very close to the edge of financial crisis. May your circumstances turn for the better and please know that your sharing has raised the sensitivity of us here @ The Bridge. I appreciated your reminder that an attitude of gratitude can make ALL of us feel wealthy when we appreciate what we have. Thanks again for sharing.

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  10. Thanks for the eye opening post, Sandy, and also to everyone for their comments which bring an even better understanding of this sad state of affairs. There but for the grace of God go I is certainly true of this and many other circumstances. We do what we can with what we have and hope it's enough for what we need.

    And oh, another contest! I love contests. :-)

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  11. Anna...Hugs to you and yours, and like other have said thanks so much for adding your thoughts. It's an important message and a very powerful one. We must all keep trying.

    Blessing to all of us who have more, be it food, clothing, housing, jobs, and or skills.

    Anna, with your drive........I know, you and your hubby will make it. Keep us posted on you and the family addition.

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