With the economy slowly recovering from the worst recession since the depression, the number of homeless people, veteran's and families are on the increase.

A myriad of circumstances contribute to this new epidemic, but the sad reality is that everyday people are suffering from this problem. Homelessness doesn't necessarily mean walking the streets and living in a box, it can mean anything from being displaced to living in the car.

Families that find themselves with no place to go run into particular problems with access to shelters. Many homeless shelters are designed to service individuals or single moms with young children. Since the problem with homeless families is a relatively new and unfortunate trend, shelters have not had time to revamp their programs to meet their needs.

Keeping families together is important, and many services by shelters are provided by separating men and women. For example, a lot of shelters operate dorm style housing, where multiple beds are in one room, sometimes numbering in the hundreds. They put men in one room and women in another. Families need space for themselves and an independent group, and facilities that are equipped for that type of situation are few and far between.

Another concern for families in shelters is the exposure to drugs and alcohol. Many families loose their housing due to economic hardships and not addiction. So exposing them to the problems of urban street homelessness is not the right environment for children to be in.

Finally, moving into a temporary shelter can disrupt the education of the kids. If a family looses their home, then technically their children have moved outside of the local school district. Many parents will not inform schools of their situation and choose to commute their kids to school. However, that is not practical for many situations, and kids are put in limbo while permanent housing is established.

Not only are kids affected by residency issues, but also losing the continuity of going to their school and being around their friends has a tremendous impact. Taking them out of that environment will impact their study and social habits. Some shelters offer programs for educating children, but they are no where near the level of quality expected from schools.

Also, the fluid and unstable lifestyle of being homeless makes it hard for children to develop long term and healthy relationships.

Not all homeless families are searching for shelters. Many have friends and other family members to rely on in times of hardship. But some of the displacement issues affecting shelter bound families also affect these as well. School is the number one concern, and sometimes their support is in the same community, and other times it is not. So, deciding what to do with the children is the first thing to think about.

Also, if the parents are working, having child care if necessary is huge concern for parents. Loosing a home is enormously disruptive, and every single routine established in the family is wiped away the moment the walk out the door with their things. Providing a safe place for kids is important. Hopefully, the friends or family that are hosting will have other kids in the house or adults around when the children are.

Those who are hosting need to consider some issues as well, because adding a new family to a home is a disruptive experience for them too. Planning on how to use space is important as well as setting boundaries and house rules. Things like making a laundry and cooking schedule should be thought about, in addition to who uses the bathroom for taking showers.

A chore list should be put together and coordinating shopping and food storage is a good idea also. Addressing these details in the beginning will eliminate a lot of stress induced arguments later on.Homeless families struggle in special ways and finding the right resource for them is a challenge. In addition to shelters and other friends or family members, churches and service organizations offer resources. Contacting the local pastor or social service agency will connect families with experts who have resources that nobody else has.

They are also geared to addressing the special needs of families versus individuals. Helping homeless families and getting them in permanent housing as fast as possible is the goal of everyone who is involved in fixing this crisis. Their special needs make it a challenge to provide resources, and keeping the family together can be difficult.

Thankfully, most families have some resources available that will make the process of getting back on their feet a little easier while enduring this horrible crisis.

For more information about homelessness visit Hope Haven Homeless Ministries [http://www.hopehavenhomelessministries.com]. Also visit Hope Haven Gospel Mission Shelter to help.
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