Like Home YOUTH HOMELESSNESS RUNS RAMPANT NATIONWIDE AND IN OUR BACKYARD BY LYNN ALLISON
aria made a decision that dramatically changed her family’s life. The now 40-year-old mother of two boys left her abusive fiancé and sought shelter in a facility for victims of domestic violence. She and her children joined the ranks of the ever-growing homeless population in Palm Beach County, and her sons became two of the thousands of homeless children right here in our own backyard. “It’s something that I never thought would happen to me,” she says. “I was college-educated, had a nice home, and here we were in a shelter with no
tion of Palm Beach County. In the last 31 months, the coalition has provided $519,000 to help move 750 homeless people into permanent housing. “Every story is different,” notes Munoz. “Abuse, mental illness, addiction, family rejection due to sexual orientation and financial setback due to a health crisis are, of course, all possible factors. But the two top reasons for homelessness in our community are unemployment or underemployment and the lack of affordable housing.”
It’s something that I never thought would happen to me. I was college-educated, had a nice home, and here we were in a shelter with no hope – just fear and confusion.
– “Maria,” mother of two
hope – just fear and confusion.” Maria (who wishes to remain anonymous) was lucky enough to meet the qualifications for AdoptA-Family of the Palm Beaches, a Lake Worth-based organization that helps homeless families and those on the verge of homelessness find their way back to solvency. For those who think homelessness is just a problem for the shiftless, the mentally unstable or those with substance abuse issues, think again. “It’s a problem for the working poor,” says Marilyn Munoz, executive director of the Homeless Coali-
“Maria” and her son
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