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No playdates, no pets
March 27, 2013

Eight-year-old Paris sweetly narrates an account of her family’s life in a shelter in this report on rising family homelessness by Minnesota Public Radio.

Playdates are not allowed there, she notes. The family had to give away their pet cat. They live in one room, with Paris and her mom sharing a bed and her siblings in bunk beds.

Despite the deprivations, Paris doesn’t seem sad. She appreciates that there’s a desk to do homework—she loves math—and there’s a 10th-floor view of the city. She says she doesn’t even feel homeless. To her, homelessness means standing on street corners holding signs.

I bet her mother feels differently.

Paris says her mom is the one who packed up the family’s belongings, putting most in storage. Her mom is probably the one who had to take their pet to the animal shelter. And undoubtedly her mother is the one worried about money, about her children’s future, about her own future.

These problems echo the ones former guests at Families Moving Forward have shared with us.

Rita and Jeffery had to leave their beloved dog behind when they moved out of their home.

Lisa has two jobs and five children. After being unemployed for a while, her husband Artis just had a job interview.

They’re not homeless anymore, but like Paris’s family they represent part of the 4 percent overall increase in family homelessness in our state in the past three years, according to Wilder Research which has just released initial findings from its tri-annual homeless survey conducted last October. Within that 4 percent, the increase in homelessness among two-parent families grew 22 percent. The job market is still tough for many people. Rents are high, available apartments scarce, especially those large enough for a family.

It’s good that an 8-year-old can overlook the ugly reality of homelessness. We can’t—and we won’t. With partner congregations and individuals who believe in home, we are making a difference in the lives of families and individuals struggling with homelessness. Please join us. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter using the form in the right-hand menu. Or find our social media buttons on the bottom right hand of this page to connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or sign up for our blog feed. We’d love to hear from you.