More young parents are seeking shelter services says SHELTER, Inc., the organization that runs the Mountain View family homeless shelter in Martinez.
During the last six months, 41% of the parents served (7 out of 17 households) were younger than 22 years old. Many of these parents spent their youth in foster care or group homes and have limited family support, if any.
According to the Contra Costa Crisis Center, the top request from families with young children calling 211 last year was for housing and homeless services. They recorded over 2,800 calls from Contra Costa families with children under age 5 experiencing housing issues.
One reason for the increase, according to staff at the shelter, is the lack of entry-level jobs available. These jobs typically were held by younger people with limited work experience, but because of the recession, the young parents are competing with people who have more work experience and better job skills.
Staff at SHELTER, Inc.’s Mountain View family emergency shelter tell the story of a little boy who entered the shelter last December. He did not have warm clothing, his shoes were several sizes too large, and he had been ill while on the streets. At their intake at the main office, when staff asked the little boy about his Christmas, he replied that Santa could not find him or had forgotten about him. When the family arrived at the shelter an hour later, there were new clothes and a large bag of toys from Santa waiting for him. Continue reading