Increase in Homeless Families Calls Faith Communities to Action

By Laura Dunson

NEOCH, Frontline Services (formerly MHS Inc.), and several religious organizations have teamed up to address the rising summer problem of family homelessness.   Family homelessness is a distinctly different problem that rises during the summer months when school ends and kids return to their homes or stay with extended families. During the summer, Moms or a parent with their children are more likely to leave where they had been staying before and soon find themselves without a place to sleep. 

But what causes the increase in family homelessness during the summer? Each situation is different, but some causes are universal. Having kids home full-time can cause additional emotional or financial stress on the household. Landlords unwilling to force out families during the cold months may be more willing in the summer for non payment of rent. Parents may have waited until the school year was over to make the transition as a family.  In addition, the new central intake system means that instead of families staying at a friend’s until a bed at a specific shelter opens up, families wait in line for a bed at central intake and must take the first bed available.

Currently, NEOCH, MHS Inc., Cuyahoga County, and many faith communities are working together to raise the supplies necessary to equip the family shelters, which are overflowing. They have found overflow housing for families in a local area church and are now working on collecting donations of healthy snacks and breakfast foods for overflow housing and central intake.  Thank you to all of the faith communities supporting our work so far, and we invite any interested community to contact us and learn how to help. 

Editor’s Note: Volunteers or those interested in donating can contact the Homeless Coalition at 216/432-0540.

Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle August 2013 Cleveland Ohio