Homelessness is a condition that has no boundaries. It can affect the young, the old, the educated, those who have experienced poverty for years, and those who never have. However, when one thinks of a homeless individual, a common image is a bum, a veteran, an older man living on the streets asking for change. In reality, there is a large sector of the homeless population that we never see. The “Hidden Homeless” are families who bounce around from house to house, live in temporary shelters, and do everything possible to conceal their condition from the world. In Massachusetts alone, the number of family households experiencing homelessness increased by 11.3% in the past year. In May 2014, there were approximately 4,600 families with children and pregnant women living in MA Emergency Assistance shelters. Our goal for FYSOP 25 is to create more awareness about the “Hidden Homeless” and to generate an understanding of the systemic issues that continue to contribute to the increase of families experiencing homelessness.
By definition, “shelter” is a basic necessity. It constitutes four walls, a floor, and a roof. However, “shelter” is not necessarily synonymous with a “home.” A healthy living environment is just as integral as the presence of physical housing. We hope to stress that many families and children who are homeless do not lose their homes in a sudden shift; rather many do not have homes (by our definition) to begin with.
We will provide our staff and volunteers with opportunities to:
Throughout our time with staff and volunteers, we hope to create a solution-driven experience. Our goal is not only to provide facts, statistics, and stories but also to demonstrate that there are programs and opportunities that will lead to long-term structural changes, rather than solely temporary relief.
Coordinator, Homelessness and Housing
Coordinator, Homelessness and Housing
These intrepid staff leaders will lead you during the week of FYSOP to various service sites across the Greater Boston area. Here are just three of many amazing FYSOP Staff Leaders. Read more profiles on our FYSOP Pinterest board.
During the week of FYSOP, we are going to work together to understand the multifaceted issue that is homelessness. Homelessness is not merely a label; it is a condition that can happen to anyone. Additionally, we will strive to understand that homelessness is not an individual experience. In fact, in the past year the number of MA families living in homelessness has increased by 10%. We will explore reasons behind this statistic, and work to provide Boston families with a healthy living space- a home. Throughout the week, volunteers will be working with a variety of people experiencing a range of homelessness. This may include serving at a shelter, spending time with children, or assisting organizations with maintenance, grounds-keeping, and other work. We aim to create a stronger community in Boston, as we work with local organizations and coalitions!
Claire is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Deaf Studies. Claire is from Boonton, NJ, and she hopes to travel the world after graduation! She wants to create a safe home in her future classrooms, while she works to support the local community as well. To Claire, home is the place where she comes back to a big smile from her mom and a hug from her dog. Claire’s favorite place in her home is her backyard; she loves reading beneath the trees and listening to the silence! For Claire, having a place where someone is glad to see you makes a positive home environment. Claire is passionate about helping others to cultivate nurturing home environments, and she is very excited to share her love with the FYSOP 25 homies!
Jenna is a senior in the School of Education, majoring in Social Studies Education with dual licensure in ESL. She is from Montgomery, NJ (close to Princeton) and is involved in several on campus groups including Kappa Delta sorority, SED Transitional Mentors, and Alternative Spring Breaks. She is very excited for her third FYSOP experience! She loves the H&H issue area because it has many angles and possibilities, but also encompasses the fundamental needs for the human experience. Without shelter, a family or individual has little chance of leading a healthy lifestyle. So many of FYSOP’s issue areas intertwine, but the need for a space to live is crucial for the prevention of society’s systemic problems. To Jenna, home is where you feel most like yourself and are surrounded by people who are positive influences. She feels lucky to experience this definition of a home in Boston and in NJ. Her favorite room or space is her kitchen. This is where her family gathers for meals, homework, and conversation. It’s the heart of her house- someone is always in this room, even if it’s just her dog! She can’t wait for August, she’s excited to start exploring and sharing her H&H ideas!
Have questions? Feel free to send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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