Sleep Without A Bed: Get a feel of being homeless; learn how to help Davie families
Published 11:14 am Friday, October 20, 2023
Imagine that on one of these cold nights, you are a single mother with nowhere to sleep. No bed with warm covers, no heat to keep you warm.
And right beside you in your car are your two young children.
Enter Family Promise, a program designed to transition families with children into permanent housing.
But for now, just try – even if only a little bit – to walk in that woman’s shoes. Saturday is the Family Promise “Night Without a Bed” challenge. Participants are asked to spend one night sleeping anywhere outside of their bed to support Family Promise.
Family Promise, the nation’s leading organization fighting family homelessness, is hosting this year’s Night Without a Bed on Oct. 21. Night Without a Bed is a social media challenge that raises awareness for families experiencing homelessness.
Family Promise of Davie County, along with more than 200 other affiliates nationwide, will participate.
Night Without a Bed caps off Family Promise Week, an annual week-long event that raises awareness about family homelessness and celebrates Family Promise’s commitment to ending the crisis.
Lisa Reynolds, executive director of Family Promise of Davie County, sleeps on her couch to support Night Without a Bed.
Participants are asked to sleep anywhere without a bed for one night: cars, a tent, a treehouse, the living room floor, a couch, etc., and use the hashtag #NightWithoutABed2023 to post a video or photo sharing the experience.
Last year, Hillsdale Church’s youth group hosted a Night Without a Bed lock-in. FPDC provided information on family homelessness in this community and how youth can get involved.
Hillsdale volunteer Mary Ann Hartman said: “We pulled an all-nighter and played games, ate pizza, and watched movies to support Davie County families experiencing homelessness.”
She said the youth group is excited about hosting their second annual event this year and encourages other groups to do the same.
A National Crisis
Every year in America, more than 3 million children experience homelessness. They are 8-9 times more likely to repeat a grade, 3 times more likely to be placed in special education programs, and 7 times more likely to attempt suicide. A total of 42 percent will drop out of school at some point, and 47 percent suffer from anxiety, depression, or withdrawal.
“Spreading awareness is something everyone can do – young or old. It doesn’t cost you anything and really makes a difference,” Reynolds said. “We encourage anyone and everyone to participate in Night Without A Bed.”
For more information on Night Without a Bed and how to participate, visit www.nightwithoutabed.org.
Experiencing homelessness can happen easily. Many Americans are one missed paycheck, one unexpected bill, or one medical emergency away from being in crisis. A total of 49% of Americans lack the ability to cover a $400 emergency expense.
Family Promise is a community-based response to families experiencing homelessness. For the past six years, Family Promise of Davie County has worked to help families attain sustainable independence through the provision of shelter, financial assistance, and case management.
Helping to Rebuild Lives
“Families come to us in crisis; we help them rebuild their lives with new skills and ongoing support,” said Reynolds. “We provide prevention services before families reach crisis, shelter and case management if they become homeless, and stabilization programs once they have secured housing to ensure they remain independent.”
Programs offered include:
• Homelessness Prevention & Shelter Diversion: Emergency financial assistance paired with supportive services allows families to maintain their housing and stay out of the shelter system.
• Family Shelter. It has space for two families at a time in this 90-day program. Families have a private room for sleeping and a shared kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, and living space. Families receive assistance finding housing, job skills training, educational courses, and referrals to local resources.
• Transitional Housing. Family Promise has two 2-bedroom, 1.5 bath homes that can temporarily house 2 families. This is a second step for families in the shelter program and is meant to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing by offering structure, supervision, support, life skills, education, and training.
• Stabilization Support: Family Promise provides ongoing support and case management for at least one year after a family graduates from programs. Helping the families they serve not only succeed today but remain stable in their housing, financial capability, and career paths tomorrow.
“So far this year, we’ve prevented homelessness for 41 families that were at risk of losing their housing and provided shelter and transitional housing to 8 families. That’s 97 children who have been able to stay in their homes and 13 children who have been given a roof over their heads,” Reynolds said.
“Shelter is one of our basic human needs, and addressing the issue of family homelessness takes an entire community. We invite you to be part of the solution.”
Promise of Christmas
Family Promise of Davie County’s annual fundraiser, “A Promise of Christmas,” will be Saturday, Dec. 2 at The Farm at Oak Hill. All funds raised support the work they do to address the issue of family homelessness holistically. Tickets are available at www.familypromisedc.org/events.
To learn more about Family Promise of Davie County or to donate, visit www.familypromisedc.org.
All of the information in this article was compiled by Jeanna Baxter White of Word Master Media Group.