Written By: Robin Reid
Did you know the average age of a person experiencing homelessness is nine? That means a child somewhere in Morgan County is sleeping in a car, underneath a bridge, or is constantly moving from one couch to another with their family.
No child should have to live with the fear of not eating, having no bed to sleep in, or feeling unsafe. Yet, there are 25 to 30 families in our community experiencing homelessness every day.
“Homelessness is a real problem in our community. As the only shelter for families in crisis, we work with parents and their children to stabilize their lives by providing shelter, advocacy, support, and other services leading them to self-sufficiency,” said WellSpring Executive Director Bob Goodrum. “It is within this nurturing and safe environment that healing may occur, and community can be built.”
The Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) also recognizes K-12 mental health in our schools is a real problem. It is why we created Impact Grants to support local organizations, such as WellSpring, that are empowering families to transform their lives for the better.
According to Goodrum, the CFMC Impact Grant is being used for the following:
- Changing the Question Initiative – A community awareness campaign to educate people about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as homelessness, and the physical, mental, and emotional impact it has on individuals. Instead of asking the question “What is wrong with you?” we need to be asking “What happened to you?” in order to successfully address trauma and promote healing. Both children and parents served by WellSpring will benefit from trauma-informed care provided at the shelter by trained staff.
- Parenting Better Children Class – Available to all parents at WellSpring, this class is facilitated by WellSpring Program Director Sue Lester, a licensed clinical social worker. In addition, Lester will have all school-aged children complete an ACE questionnaire to determine the level of trauma they have experienced to better assist parents in using appropriate intervention strategies.
In 2018, WellSpring provided 20,532 nights of shelter to families experiencing homelessness. Approximately 9,380 of those nights were spent by children. The shelter is currently full with at least 25 local families on the waiting list. The emergency shelter has nine, furnished apartments which can house 30-35 people. Families can stay up to 30 days with extensions given for those who are working towards self-sufficiency.
“The lack of safe, affordable housing combined with low paying jobs, generational poverty, and poor choices have created an ever-increasing population of families experiencing homelessness in Morgan County. Many have children whose ACEs are beyond the national average,” said Goodrum. “For more than 30 years, WellSpring has provided services to children who have experienced traumatic events in their lives, only to return as adults. This ‘rite of passage’ must be addressed to end the cycle of homelessness and generational poverty.”
You can help these families break this generational cycle by donating to CFMC’s Impact Grants.
One hundred percent of every dollar you donate to CFMC goes back into our community as an Impact Grant. Your donation will help someone find housing, food, employment, and other life-changing opportunities. CFMC matches $2 for $1.
We have real issues needing real solutions, such as K-12 mental health in our schools. CFMC is committed to bringing positive changes to our community, but we cannot do this work alone. All of us know at least one person who is struggling to turn their life around. You can help by donating to our Impact Grants.
Decide today to partner with CFMC and be intentional about your giving. Every dollar, no matter how small or large will make an impact in many lives. Go to www.cfmconline.org/igivetoo and make an impact today.