While I was doing StreetWatch outreach at a homeless tent city this week, I got phone calls about two homeless families — a single dad with a 7-year old and a single mom with a 5-year old — who had nowhere to go. Shelters were full. They always are. They were out of options. I had no answers. I prayed on the phone with the friend who’d called on their behalf, that God would make a way where’s there no way, and the homeless men in the circle around me listened quietly. I starting crying during the prayer and I didn’t stop until after the phone call ended. I couldn’t stop thinking about the newly-evicted mom who was going to get her child from school, and not have anywhere to go from there. No home. Homeless. Not even a shelter to stay in. How frightening for a child! How terrifying for a mom!
It didn’t even occur to me at the time (although I knew it already) that there are moms and dads with kids who are actually in the shelter, but who still have nowhere to go all day long. You can’t stay at the shelter during the day, even if you have nowhere to go and no way to get there. Those are the rules. Here’s one mom’s story:
Maybe you remember this image.
A woman pushing a stroller and holding the tiniest of umbrellas, her three small children in tow as the rain pelted them.
That picture ran in the News & Record two weeks ago, and at the time, it seemed mundane enough. Just a family caught in a downpour.
A reader who recognized them informed us otherwise.
Dorothy Gordon and her kids weren’t trying to get home. They were already there.
On the streets.
Update, 6/4/2012: Hopeful news: I got a call from a friend about The Nurturing Center, a new child care program for homeless children. They have contacted Dorothy Gordon to see if they can help.