People often ask me, “What causes homelessness?” The answer is almost anything you can imagine, and sometime the unimaginable. Case in point. The other day, I met a woman who is living at our Women and Family Emergency Shelter, because she had quit her job. Naturally, given the scarcity of jobs these days, she had my full attention.
As she began to unfold her story, it was clear she had not quit because of some egregious wrong in the workplace or a gross laxity in personal responsibility. She quit in order to protect her 15-year old son from the perils of the street. You’re probably thinking, what a desperate thing to do. Well, it was. Except that this woman was between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
Being a struggling, single parent, living in a rough neighborhood, she could not be both on the job and also at home monitoring her son’s activities and associates. The hours between the close of school and the end of her work day were too many for her comfort. There was evidence that the draw of the streets was stronger than the law of her household. With her limited income, she could not afford a better neighborhood, and, as she said, “I had to get him out of there. The money I was making was not as important as his life.” With nowhere else to go and homelessness as her option, Star of Hope was her only hope.
I have to tell you that I have great admiration for this mom. She is a courageous, selfless woman who was willing to sacrifice everything she had to give her son an opportunity to live with honesty, decency, and purpose. She took a leap of faith and found peace in the shelter, where she and he are receiving the help they need, now. and the preparation they need for the future.
Visit Star of Hope Mission and learn more about Shelters Houston Texas.