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Forum on Family Homelessness March 2nd

Listen, Learn and Act: Family Homelessness --You can help change things

The North Shore Voices to End Homelessness invites you to a short informative advocacy forum on Sunday March 2nd, 2014 at 2 p.m. at First Church Congregational in Swampscott.  

We need your voices!  All are invited!

There is a crisis just outside your door, and you may not be aware of it.  Homelessness-- you can’t always see it, and we are really good at sweeping it under the rug.

This year, the number of families experiencing homelessness has dramatically increased in Massachusetts. Many of them have spent the winter with no home or stable place to live, and over 4,200 families are calling state-funded shelters and motels home. Thousands of others have been turned away for state services, either because they are unable to meet the strict eligibility requirements or because the programs have run out of funds.

Over 200 families are staying at local motels, another 150 or so in shelters coordinated by North Shore anti-poverty agencies. Countless others are doubled-up with family and friends, overcrowded, sharing costs.  Some will tell you that homelessness occurs because of laziness; that that homeless people are at fault for their situation; that homeless people are addicts and worse.  And this misinformation often keeps us from speaking out and advocating for these very people.

This needs to change; we need you to join us to help create change. We can prevent homelessness, but all of us, voters, faith groups and organizations need to work together for this to happen.

Join us on March 2nd at 2pm at First Church in Swampscott to learn more about the real issues around homelessness.  Hear from a couple of families who have struggled and are figuring out how to make it work. Learn how to advocate for change so that more families can succeed. The North Shore Housing Action Group, along with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, the Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness , Promise the Children and  North Shore Community Action Programs are partnering with First Church to host this important afternoon gathering.

We are community; we are connected; we need each other. Society or the media can portray us as individuals needing to focus mainly on ourselves, but in the end, your pain affects me, my struggles impact you. 

We can prevent homelessness, and to do that we need to voice our concerns to local legislators. This March 2nd training will help prepare advocates, new and seasoned, for a Legislative breakfast on April 3rd at 7:30 A.M. at Salem State University where you can meet local senators and representatives to talk about this continuing crisis of family homelessness. 

The state spends money (your tax dollars) on motels – roughly $3000 per month per room. With all of this money going to sheltering there is not enough left over to prevent this crisis.  

Rents on the North Shore are rising, childcare is out of reach for most folks working at minimum wage ($8 per hour).  A 3- bedroom apartment in Salem averages about $1350 per month, no utilities. Do the math. Full-time work at $8 an hour is just over $1300.  Then there are all the other costs – food, clothing, heat, electricity, transportation, child care.  In fact, in order to meet all of these expenses a parent needs to work about 110 hours per week, or 15-16 hours a day, 7 days a week.  When can they have time to be a parent? Your child is in school with children who suffer at home; their suffering affects your child’s learning; affecting your ability to parent. If we are to help ourselves and protect our children, we need to help each other, we need to face our connectedness and lift up our neighbor.

Your child is in school with children who suffer at home; their suffering affects your child’s learning; affecting your ability to parent. If we are to help ourselves and protect our children, we need to help each other, we need to face our connectedness and lift up our neighbor.

Six degrees of separation – that is what they say—we are all connected by at most 5 or 6 people, making it a very small world. Your voice used to help someone else, even homeless families, can change the world.

Be a part of the change you wish to see. Join us on March 2nd and on April 3rd.  We need each other.

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