Bringing Hope to Children Facing Homelessness
Many of the women who come to through our front doors don’t come alone. Mothers seeking help and hope also bring their children with them—children of all ages—and their needs are drastically different from the adults who receive our services.
Mothers come to us struggling to feed their babies, struggling to get their child to school every day, and struggling to find a safe, stable place for their family to sleep. That’s why when children are brought into our shelters, we meet their unique needs because we believe every child is special and deserves a safe environment where they can grow, learn, and (of course) play.
What it looks like when children facing homelessness enter our facilities:
If a child is facing homelessness, it’s likely due to circumstances passed down from generations before they were born: poverty, addiction, homelessness, and more have likely been in their family for years. You can read more about that here.
How we help: We combat generational poverty by creating healthy and happy environments for children experiencing homelessness to truly thrive. We help them overcome their scars from homelessness and/or the trauma they have likely already experienced through community, structure, and family.
But we also know that children need places to laugh, play, and grow – just like every child deserves. At our facilities, you’ll find children taking their first steps surrounded by our cheering and supportive staff, you’ll find them playing hopscotch down our hallways, and you’ll find them playing and laughing with other children who have become their friends, often for the first time in their lives.
You’ll find them being kids.
Children who have grown up in poverty and/or experiencing homelessness don’t grow up in the same way as their classmates or peers. Many of the children in our shelters haven’t known a stable or consistent home. They often have seen friends and family members come and go, or they have moved homes so often that they don’t know how to form long-term relationships with others around them.
How we help: At our facilities, children consistently interact with the same staff members on a regular basis – in daycare, preschool, after school, and social activities. Often for the first time in their lives, they’re learning what it feels like to have people stay in their lives. They learn to trust them and grow with those around them. Having a stable routine, building relationships, and knowing where they’ll sleep at night all give each child a sense of comfort and stability, and this is where we begin to see them thrive.
This is where they become family.
According to the Family Housing Fund, “as a result of stressful events, homeless children between the ages of 6 and 17 have very high rates of mental disorders compared to their peers.” They’re also more likely to experience a myriad of other issues, such as health problems, developmental disorders, and more.
How we help: We have developmental resources such as fun games and safe spaces in order to create a place for our team to help observe any potential issues that we can later help them overcome. Each of our caretakers and teachers employs a trauma-informed approach, which emphasizes safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer support, collaboration, and empowerment. This approach gives children the opportunity to be themselves and to grow and develop in a healthy environment.
The biggest reward is seeing a kid get their childhood back.
We’re only able to provide help to children because of the support we so graciously get from people like you. To truly see the impact of children’s services, read the story of how Shawnta and her daughter, Starcia, overcame homelessness and received a fresh start.
Ways to Give
We’d be honored to have you share in the joys, struggles and transformations of Atlanta’s most vulnerable souls.