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  • Monica, Communications Intern

Homelessness may not always look like what you think

When we think of homelessness, you may be surprised to learn that not everyone who is experiencing homelessness is living on the streets in tents. The harsh reality is that your own neighbor or friend could be at-risk or currently experiencing homelessness without you even knowing.

For years, the state of California has remained in the top three states with the highest numbers of individuals experiencing homelessness. On December 9, 2020, CBS Los Angeles estimated the California homeless population to be 128,777 individuals who are not in families with children and 22,501 individuals of families with children. The rate of homelessness increases every day, especially with an ongoing pandemic that has only worsened an existing housing crisis. There is reason to believe the reported numbers of the homeless population are vastly underreported.

Many individuals and families at-risk or experiencing homelessness are employed and have children attending school, but have lost or will lose their stable housing. This usually occurs due to a cut or loss in employment hours, family conflict, or unanticipated expenses. Although they have lost stable housing, they could be continuing their day-to-day lives, including going to work or school, all while living in their vehicles or couch surfing. Out of shame, families experiencing homelessness may be reluctant to speak to friends or family about their situation. Homelessness has an even greater impact on children by placing them at a greater risk of serious health and emotional problems, low academic performance, and separation from their family due to the difficulty of keeping the family intact.

The solution to ending family homelessness is access to and capability of sustaining stable housing. We here at Family Promise operate specific programs to prevent families from becoming homeless, and supporting families who have already lost their housing. If you or a friend, neighbor, or family member is at risk of or is experiencing homelessness, please refer them to us. We understand the families we help will all have their own unique journeys to overcoming homelessness. No matter the circumstances, our mission is consistent in providing help, giving hope, and bringing families home.

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