Carolina kids invisible in their homelessness

Anxiety overwhelming for youth who bounce from place to place

When many think of homelessness, they might imagine men and women sleeping on sidewalk, an emergency shelter or a car.

But consider another scenario. A 4-year-old girl sleeping on a couch in a stranger’s home and her mom trying to rest in a chair, not knowing if they’ll need to find somewhere else to stay the next night.

The stress, uncertainty and shame are crushing, and it affects the family’s mental health and physical well-being.

In North Carolina, nearly 30,000 students who attend public school in Pre-K through 12th grade have been identified as homeless, and 73% of North Carolina’s families with homeless students lived “doubled-up” with family or friends.

The anxiety of not knowing where they will sleep next is common among homeless youths who bounce from place to place, living doubled-up or “couch surfing.”

Couch surfing is another form of homelessness characterized by moving from shelter to shelter, often staying with friends or acquaintances, but with no permanent place to call home.

Whether it is literally staying on someone’s couch, a spare room or a mattress on the floor, couch surfers aren’t likely to feel comfortable and secure for long. It also means they might not have the stability to work towards ending their homelessness.

Charlotte was facing an affordable housing crisis before COVID-19. The situation has only become more challenging for those who lost jobs, had their income reduced or suffered a health crisis due to the pandemic. Many now find themselves on the verge of homelessness.

The need for help in Carolina communities continues to grow because of the financial ramifications of the novel coronavirus.

To assist our neighbors in need, WSOC-TV is partnering with Crisis Assistance Ministry to help 9 Crisis Help raise funds for those who are struggling amid the economic downturn.

9 Crisis Help’s mission is to give help and hope to people with limited financial resources.

On Sept. 4, 2020, the federal government issued a moratorium on evictions for tenants, lessees or residents of residential properties to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The order prohibits residential landlords nationwide from evicting certain tenants through March 31, 2021.

The current eviction moratorium is a temporary protection. It may or may not be extended again, but when it does eventually expire, renters will be held responsible for all unpaid rent or mortgage payments.

The difficulties people have making rent, mortgage and utility payments lead to spikes in foreclosures and evictions. Many renters and residents do not know their rights or are not able to advocate for themselves in court. This is a heavy weight for many families to carry.

Crisis Assistance Ministry, a resource aiding those in need, recognizes that keeping a family in a home is far less expensive than getting a new home for a family who has lost one. You can offer timely assistance to families facing eviction due to the pandemic.

Crisis Assistance Ministry provides assistance and advocacy for people in financial crises, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW TO 9 CRISIS HELP.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.

Crisis Assistance Ministry may be able to assist with your rent & utility bills! Get all the info: www.crisisassistance.org/gethelp

Posted by Crisis Assistance Ministry on Sunday, February 21, 2021