Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homeless Families

     I have been in and out of homelessness for the past 30 years. 14 of those years I've been literally homeless. 10 of those years I've been in the grey area - living in halfway houses, etc.  In the midst of that, for 6 years I was married - had a job, bought a house, two kids etc.   When my now exwife asked for a divorce I knew my life would fall apart and I would return to streets.   For a split second I thought about taking my kids with me, back into homelessness.  And I immediately decided, "no way in hell."      You will hear most homeless parents say something to the effect "I love my children too much to be separated from them."   Well, I loved my children too much to put them through that experience - considering everything that a child would experience, and witness other people doing, etc.   I would NEVER put my children through that.   Although it broke my heart, I left my children with my ex.  But even if it were a situation where both my ex and I were to become homeless, I would have left my children with family, I would have put them up for adoption, rather than expose my kids to the streets.   Personally, I think these parents are being extremely selfish, putting their children at undue risk.   I have known some homeless families that had been dealing with poverty a long time, and they knew that having children with them would give them preferential treatment at all the shelters and homeless service providers they visited.   They were using their children in an unseemly manner so to gain favor - they got first of everything, and the best of everything, that homeless service providers offered - the best food, the best lodging, the most services, etc.   Personally, I wish that family services would get more involved, and remove kids from parents who have become homeless.