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What happens when you run out of money?

October 23, 2008

There are many reasons why people end up in a homeless situation; those include poor planning, a mother and her children (with no income) leaving an abusive spouse, over spending, or a tragedy that financially depletes the family. Bridge Communities receives approximately 880 phone calls each year from families in a housing crisis. In fact, a one-night survey conducted on January 25, 2007 indicated that 766 persons in DuPage County were homeless that night. Did you know that the average age of a homeless person in DuPage County is eight? Of the 45,000 DuPage County residents living in poverty, 30% are under age five. The children are the innocent victims of homelessness.

So what does happen when the money runs out and the family can no longer afford housing?

Here’s what our clients experience:

· Kids start failing classes since they are upset and worried about their unsettled situation. They are unable to concentrate on their studies and keep up with the class.

· The family no longer has access to a computer and cannot use the library’s computers since they no longer are a resident and no longer have a library card.

· Some teens drop out of school to work and bring in wages for the family.

· Kids feel isolated and embarrassed and do not admit their situation to their friends; it becomes awkward for them when their friends ask, “Where do you live?” or “Could we meet at your house?”

· There are many incidentals many of us take for granted such as lunch money, field trip money, food at home for school lunches, spending money for a treat, money for new shoes, new backpack, the list is endless. For a family experiencing homelessness, these incidentals become major hurdles to address on a daily basis.

· Kids become even more isolated because many of the group activities or sports teams in which they participated in the past are no longer affordable now.

· Single moms must find work to bring in an income, however they cannot afford childcare.

In summary, life becomes stressful, embarrassing and about survival. The good news is that Bridge is able to help many of those families help themselves. By bridging the gap and providing housing, the parent can go to school to learn new skills to find a higher paying job. Also the Bridge counselors and mentors work with the family on budgeting, life skills, and tutoring the children. For the past 20 years Bridge has been making a difference and you can help by participating in SOS and raising funds to support the cause.

This week bring a can to school with you and ask your friends to donate all their loose change to Bridge Communities. Then ask your parents and neighbors for their support by giving their loose change. As you know, every little bit counts! You will be amazed at how much you can collect in a week if you just give it a try!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 27, 2008 6:22 pm

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