Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Families in Distress

It is never easy to look poverty in the eye.  Even when it is some poor benighted street person whose poverty seems self inflicted we want to turn away and pretend he or she isn’t there.  But with the economy continuing to wallow in the doldrums of an at best anemic recovery, families are falling into homelessness to levels not seen since the Great Depression.  According to this shocking report seen on the program “60 Minutes” 25% of children in the United States now live in poverty.

The stories of these innocent victims of economic hard times are almost unbearable.  Imagine going to school so hungry you will ask another student for the food they may not want to eat themselves.  Or having to get on a school bus in front of a cheap motel where your family has moved after losing your home to foreclosure.  Or enduring the shame of seeing you father stand by the side of a road with a sign that reads “Family of Five, Please Help.” 

8 million families and 16 million children in distress in America is overwhelming social welfare systems and charitable organizations struggling to provide needed assistance.  As individuals, we feel powerless to help.  Last year I wrote about Home & Hope, a non-profit organization in San Mateo County that is specifically designed to engage individuals in the effort to assist homeless families. 

I can say from personal experience with this organization (I have joined the board and have spent the night with some of our families in a shelter) that we can and must become personally involved in creating solutions to the tragedy of families becoming homeless in America.  The Home & Hope/Family Promise model keeps families together while helping them to reconstruct their lives and transition back to employment and housing. 

Witnessing the bravery of the children is especially humbling.  Listen to the boy in the “60 Minutes” piece state with such conviction “as long as you’re with your family you will make it through this…all of it.”  Or the young girl say “when things get better we know there will still be people struggling and we will be able to help them.”  We must find it in us to respond to such courage.  Family of five, please help.


  1. Dan,
    This is a very powerful post. Thank you for giving your talents to "the least of these" Raj

  2. Daniel, I applaud your efforts and share your observation about the impact of foreclosures are having in destroying families. Ironically, some traditional banks have Home donation program and we encourage any we encounter to consider donating their un-wanted inventory of homes to the Housing Non-Profits. Wells Fargo has such a donation program and I did introduce the Affordable Housing Committee of Santa Clara where I volunteered for the past 6 years to work with them.

    Fed's estimates for unemployment to continue at a 9% clip past 2015 which means we will see a lot more pain and foreclosures. Isn't it ironic that world's richest nation will have to rely on Micro Finance to help it's poor!!?

  3. I'm a Bangladeshi poor citizen I have family but I have no house, I stay in dhaka city but it is very difficult to stay in dhaka in normal life it's a challenging life but we could not stay in proper for my poverty,I have wife, children, brothers and sisters and large family all are staying very poor life and so bad situation we no proper earning source, I applying rich people and organization to help and contribute us as help, donations, aid and grants to me for build my house to stay in dhaka as human living life to my Account, Account holder Md. Firoz Alam Patwary, Account number: 6696, Rupali Bank, Pallabi Branch, Mirpur-11, Dhaka-1216, Bangladesh. Mailing Address: Section:6, Block-A, Road#2, House#37(3rd floor), Mirpur,Dhaka-1216, Bangladesh. Cell: 88-01714446573, Please transfer money any suitable rich person or organization from your charity fund for individuals as grants and aid to my account and contact me. Thanking you sir. If you fund me pls fund bank transfer expenses paid by you. Pls send me a bank payment order or bank draft mention my bank account no to my mailing address by courier DHL or Fedex.

    Thanking you,

  4. Aloha from Kauai...breaks my heart and tears me up to see where we have slowly sunk...many humble gracious families stumble through their days living below levels of poverty here as well...This should never be happening. Our community does a good job of engaging and assisting...fortunately, we are a vibrant self sustaining community at large with abundant fish, fruits, local grown vegetables. We try to share within our neighborhoods. However, living in a car, a tent or a temporary shelter removes those deeply in need from getting consistent help. Thats a real problem. Our schools, similar to the ones showcase on your broadcast, have students barely able to deal with the stresses of homelessness, lack of constant support,regular healthy food. etc.. Our local school does the best it can with their budget slashed beyond belief but the food,(hotdogs etc) does little to nourish,only fill. Noone here pretends its going to improve. Thankfully, tourism is strong and most work somewhere within that industry. The traumas will continue and we do the best we can...aloha Mike Lyons