What myths do you believe about moms who are homeless?
February 21, 2023
Homelessness is complex and complicated, as are the many reasons that some families in poverty fall into homelessness and some do not.
Beware of the simple answer to very complex societal issues!
Single moms we serve live hard, complicated lives, surrounded by people and systems that fail them, demean them and perpetrate violence on them. Many are struggling to stay afloat from a lifetime of trauma that began with the trauma of their own parents and grand-parents. And all of these moms are deeply human, sometimes making mistakes that take a life-time to recover from.
Consider this: What would I do if I had no resources, connections, cash, health insurance or home?
Would I turn to parents, siblings and extended family, even if that was the source of adverse childhood experiences, like abuse, neglect and addiction? Would I have friends I trust and can turn to if the message I had internalized over the course of my lifetime was “You are not good enough”? Would I do anything possible to protect my own children if I had not been protected by my own mom?
Annalise was holding on by a thread, renting a room for herself and her 2 year old daughter, working just to survive. And within 48 hours everything came crashing down when she lost her daycare for her daughter. She had used all her paid time off several months ago when trying to find a room to rent. So she quit her job, instead of getting fired, in order to find a new daycare. She never considered asking her employer for time off without pay – she didn’t realize that was even a possibility. As her search for daycare continued longer than she had anticipated, she couldn’t pay the weekly room and board for the room she rented in someone’s basement. And so within a week’s time, she was without daycare, without a job and without a place to stay.
Could she have tried harder to keep her job, keep her room? Did she give up too soon in speaking up for herself?
Would your perspective of her story change to know that she was also struggling with depression and anxiety? And that she relied on public transportation which limited her daycare, housing and job options?
Everyone’s story is complicated and multi-layered. Your story. And mine too.
At Bridge of Hope, we get to be a guest in someone else’s story, a phrase from New Testament scholar Eric Barreto which I have come to love.
What does it mean to be a guest in Annalise’s story or in the story of any of the single moms we walk with at Bridge of Hope? Katie, a Neighboring Volunteer, shares beautifully about what it means to be a guest in someone else’s story: click here.
Instead of embracing myths about moms who face homelessness, I invite you to be a guest in their story, listening without judgement and walking with them in love.
Walking Together as Neighbors,
Edith Yoder, CEO
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