Dawn and Ryle

The first time I ever heard the term “families downsizing” was this past July during an interview with the Nevada Partnership Of Homeless Youth (watch the interview here). Larry Lovelett, Homeless Youth Transition Specialist, said this was currently their biggest challenge. He explained that since Nevada has been hit hard by the failing economy, families are selling their large homes and moving into smaller, more affordable apartments. But to fit into these apartments? Well, many families have no choice but to make their older children move out.

The idea of downsizing families boggled my mind – I just didn’t see how it was possible for a family to kick out one of their kids. But then I met Dawn and her son Ryle at a rotating shelter near Detroit, Michigan. Just two days before this interview, Dawn’s mom dropped her off at the shelter.

Nevada isn’t the only community grappling with downsizing families. Last week, I interviewed Jack Gonzalez at the Los Angeles Youth Network, who also talked about how these families are affecting his organization. (That interview can be found here)

It’s incredibly sad the lengths some families must go to in order to survive during these rough economic times. Maybe your family will never be forced to “downsize” in order to stay housed, but I hope that Dawn’s story puts a face to this unfortunate phenomenon.

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