About a year ago, Adine and her kids found themselves without a home and in need of some serious help. Here’s their story.
It’s an early Monday morning in Montbello. Adine is sitting in her living room. There are two couches, a coffee table and an end table that has a book on it, the cover of the book reads Holy Bible. “God is great,” she says. “It’s the weirdest thing, I didn’t find the strength to fight. I found the courage to give it to God.”
About a year ago, Adine and her kids were living in a one bedroom apartment. They were doing well and making it day-by-day. They lived in the unit for nearly one year before Adine received a notice that her rent was being raised. “When the old lease ended, I couldn’t afford to pay the new one,” she says. “So, we had to go.”
So long is the stigma that people are homeless because they have an addiction or a disability. Of course, for some, that is true. But many single-parent families in Denver are becoming homeless because they simply can’t afford rent. And as a result, the new face of homelessness in our city is that of Adine and her children.
They’re called the hidden homeless. In an interview with the Denver Post, Barbara Duffield, policy director at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, said “It’s much more of a hidden and invisible population. The general public may not even see them or consider them to be homeless because they are not on [the street] like a single homeless adult.”
But they are homeless. Families all across Colorado find themselves living in situations that are not meant for permanent residence, many of them don’t live on the street, but they do live in motels, vehicles and shelters.
“I just hit hard times,” says Adine, “And I found myself in an uncontrollable situation. Homelessness isn’t a state of being; it’s not who I am, or who I was. It’s not about being uneducated. And I’ve never done drugs. But it still happened to me. My kids and I were homeless because I couldn’t afford rent.”
In Adine’s case, she and her kids moved into a basement of a family member’s home. And although the basement provided shelter, it was far from ideal. “It just wasn’t safe,” she says. Adine doesn’t expound on her statement, she just says it again, “it just wasn’t safe, and it wasn’t the most stable place for us to live for a long period of time.”
“It’s the weirdest thing, I didn’t find the strength to fight.
I found the courage to give it to God.”
Adine knew about Denver Rescue Mission and The Crossing. So, when she realized she wasn’t going to be able to afford the new lease, Adine called us and began taking steps toward enrolling in our STAR Transitional Program. After thirty days of living in a basement with her children, Adine received a phone call that she’d been accepted into our program and a room was ready for her family at The Crossing.
In the STAR Program, Adine was paired with a case manager, and together, they learned that her family would qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher lottery (formerly Section 8), a government-funded program that assists low-income families.
There’s a waiting list for the voucher program and sometimes the wait can be up to three to five years. Because of Adine’s situation, a single mom with two kids, her wait time was reduced to only a few months. But during those months, our staff members began preparing Adine for her future, “I was working a full-time job,” she says. “And I was going to classes, learning how to budget, learning how to take care of myself, and learning how to be a good parent.”
After four months of being enrolled in STAR, Adine and her kids were awarded housing. To help support them as they moved into a new home, our Family Rescue Ministry assisted Adine’s family with their first month’s rent and deposit. She’s been in her new home for nearly six months. She still works a full-time job and she pays rent every month. “I’ve learned to focus on the positive,” she says. “Times are still hard some days, but I made it through the roughest, being homeless, watching my boys go through that and questioning ‘can I get through this?’, but I made it. It’s not perfect. It’s still a struggle every day, but because of my time with the Mission, I know how to budget, how to be a good parent. And I know I can make it!”
Your Donations Can Help Denver’s Hidden Homeless
Make a gift to provide a path home for families like Adine’s.
Your Donations Provide Hope To The Hidden Homeless In Three Ways
STAR TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM
In the program, families and individuals develop and practice important life skills, save money, gain the tools they need to provide for their own housing, and transition into a self-sufficient lifestyle when they graduate.
FAMILY RESCUE MINISTRY
The Mission’s Family Rescue Ministry program provides families and seniors in need with mentors from the community and assistance with their first month’s rent and deposit toward a long-term housing solution.
FAMILY REFUGEE SERVICES
Refugee families are paired with a mentor team who work with them to help with basic needs, community orientation, employment skills, financial skills (bilingual assistance if necessary), first month’s rent and deposit, and social and emotional support.
Homelessness & Families: The Facts
26% OF METRO DENVER’S HOMELESS
population were families in 2018.
57,971 FAMILY HOUSEHOLDS
in the U.S were identified as homeless in 2017.
1 IN 30 CHILDREN
in the U.S experience homelessness annually. 51% are under the age of five.