Denise and her kids spend their days in a public park in Salt Lake City. They once had stable housing, but when the building they were in was foreclosed on, Denise had to move her family into a homeless shelter.
If you are wondering what they are doing in a park everyday, the typical homeless shelter model kicks families out during daytime hours, even with young kids, even in freezing weather. They will tell you it’s to motivate them to go look for work or something. But let’s get real, a mom with young kids cannot look for work without childcare, so kids end up hanging outside often in the bad parts of town getting all the wrong influences.
When I taped this interview, Denise had 12 days to find an apartment before she would lose her section 8. I had a wonderful time getting to know Denise and the other families in the park that night. I do hope she was able to find adequate housing.
This Invisible People road trip is made possible by Sevenly and Virgin Mobile USA, who are partnering to end youth homelessness through Virgin Mobile USA’s initiative, RE*Generation. For more information please click here.