Coalition keeps families together

We have all heard the common saying, “A family that eats together, stays together.” Recently, we came across an article in The Huffington Post that put a new twist on this phrase for homeless families. The author touted, “A family that lives together, stays together.”

The main focus of the article involves the lengths that a homeless family may go through to avoid separation, since some shelters are not able to take intact families (mother, father and children) and keep them together. Some families “couch surf” among friends and relatives, some stay in motels, and others may cram their family of five into a car or an RV as a last resort.

For most people not facing homelessness, envisioning any of these situations is difficult; but for many homeless families, these are ways to avoid sleeping on the streets or separating.

As one can imagine, this piece really struck a chord with us at the Coalition. As the largest homeless shelter in Central Florida that serves intact families, we understand and agree with the importance of keeping families together. At the Coalition’s Center for Women and Families, we have 27 individual family rooms. These allow our intact homeless families, single mothers with sons over the age of 10, and single fathers with children a place to live together while working towards self-sufficiency.

Also contributing to the average of 115 families we serve on a daily basis are our community housing programs and Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC). The community housing programs, Scattered Site and Housing Now, enable families to transition as a unit towards independence. WRCC allows homeless single mothers, some of whom are victims of crime, to live in safe place with their children.

The next time you hear the familiar adage about eating together, remember the twist that the Coalition supports: “A family that lives together, stays together.”

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