Images of a pregnant woman walking the streets wondering where she’ll spend the night are not something anyone can see without wanting to step in the help. Helping is almost impossible unless her story is told. Mothers in this state of crisis usually aren’t forthcoming with their stories or pleas for help. The urgency of a home is more pressing than telling someone who may or may not help. This is where we come in.
Most of us never really have had to deal with homelessness or the thought of not having a home. There is not one specific situation that leads women to the homeless, but rather a series of events. There is a cycle that needs to be broken in some instances to bring an end to homelessness. Some of the circumstances stem from aging out of foster care, job loss, illness, relocation, divorce, abandonment or a cycle of poverty, a cycle repeats.
A Purdue study found “when a family becomes homeless the entire family’s life, normalcy, sense of securing and whatever semblance of functionality that once existed is now completely disrupted and off-balance. Any routine or appearance of normalcy changes. The conditions of “normal” life, from mundane activities of daily living (regular showers or doing laundry) to the important job of getting a child to school, are brought to a sudden halt. Household foundations, however weak they may have been in the past, may become nonexistent once homelessness occurs.”
Whatever the circumstances surrounding a person’s or family’s homelessness, they are likely to worsen once homelessness becomes a reality. Even if job loss is the explanation for an individual’s homelessness, such an unexpected crisis can quickly worsen and can lead to depression, unemployment, and other conditions that will make it more difficult for a family to regain economic stability and a home.
A woman who is pregnant and homeless doesn’t care about attending classes to get a pack and play or diapers. She cares about getting a roof over her head before night falls. Whether it’s getting into a shelter, sleeping in a car, a quiet bathroom or a tent in the woods. These are her concerns. Programs like Carried To Full Term are necessary to help stabilize families in crisis as a result of homelessness. When families are given the support, resources, and tools like those offered by Carried To Full Term and similar programs, then and only then, will they be to focus on developing routines that include job searches and grocery shopping.