Forget everything you’ve ever thought about the homeless.
It’s not always a guy with a cardboard sign begging for money. Not everyone has a shopping cart. It goes far beyond tent cities. The reality is that families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. The average homeless person is nine years old and in the third grade.
Meet Cecilia and her daughter Juliana, just one of many families without a home in America. I met them at the Prado Day Center in San Luis Obispo. Like most folks without a home, Cecilia never planned to be homeless. But for the past two years she has been living with her three-year-old daughter and nine year old son in a homeless shelter.
As a mom, Cecilia does her best to stay positive. But this doesn’t mean that raising a family without a home is easy. Each morning, Cecilia and her children must vacate the evening-only shelter. Her older son heads off to school. Cecilia and Juliana head to the day center, where they must wait to shower and spend the day. At 3 p.m. the day center closes, so they head to the park before returning to the evening shelter where they must two house in line to get a bed.
If this story affects you like it does me, please don’t let it end here. Forward it to a friend, blog about it, scream real loud – do something! Cecilia and Juliana are the new faces of homelessness. And if you ask me, children should never be homeless.
(Special thanks to the Prado Day Center for their hospitality.)