Homelessness is a Nightmare for a Child

Providing shelter to a homeless child can be an uplifting – or heartbreaking – experience.  At St. Vincent de Paul’s Sweet Dreams Shelter, there are happy, laughing children everywhere, but during the initial intake process, we often see frightened children clinging to their parents: the only sure thing left in their lives.  We hear sobs and comments like, “I want to go home.”  They are simply too young to understand that home isn’t there anymore. 

It’s not just the kids that are afraid.  Even adults, especially parents of children like Kay and Cerenity, in the photos above, are terrified at the thought of eviction.  When you’re barely making ends meet, a car repair, an illness or a lay-off can be catastrophic.  Most low-income families have no savings, and one missed paycheck can result in homelessness.

The long-term effects of homelessness can be tragic, particularly for young children.   Living on the streets or in a car must feel like a nightmare they can’t wake up from.  This can have a devastating impact on their sense of trust, security and safety.  Can you imagine how difficult it is for them to understand that they can’t go back home? 

When we think of homelessness, we often visualize a man on a street corner holding a sign, but have you ever wondered where the homeless mothers, children and families are?  Some are sleeping on the couch or the floor at a friend’s house, wondering how long it will be before they are asked to leave.  Some are sleeping in their cars, with their meager possessions in plastic bags.  Since 2001, thousands of them have stayed at our Sweet Dreams Shelter until their dreams of home could once again become a reality. 

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of homeless women, children and families that need our help.  Our response was to expand our Sweet Dreams Shelter last year from 36 to 82 beds.  This has enabled us to assist more people, which is critical, because we are the only shelter in our community that provides services to homeless mothers with male children over the age of 5, fathers with children, and couples with children.  Of course, these expanded services mean that we need your help now, more than ever.  

We hope you will use the Sweet Dreams Prayer Card below to pray for the homeless, especially women, children like Kay and Cerenity, and families.  We also need your help to keep our doors open and ask you to consider making a financial gift by clicking here.   Your support will make a real difference in someone’s life. 

On behalf of the individuals, families, and children we serve, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your support. Because of your investment in our work, their dreams of home can come true.  Thank you! 

Sweet Dreams Prayer
Lord God, Giver of Life,
Fill us with your Spirit.
Use our hands to shelter the homeless;
Use our hearts to enable sweet dreams;
Use our voices to end homelessness.
May our actions improve life for others
And reflect your abundant love.
Through Christ our Lord, AMEN.