Thank You for Helping
At the one-year mark of the pandemic, many of us are reflecting on how the world has changed drastically for all of us as individuals and for our communities. For those living in poverty, the hardship has been disproportionate from COVID illness, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and for some, systemic racism. Yet, thanks to the support of our community over the past year, Horizons has been able to change the trajectory of people’s lives with creative solutions, empathetic support, and tireless advocacy.
As hopeful as we are for the future, the pandemic is not yet over and there is still much work to be done. In December, Horizons sent a survey to all the families in our partnerships program and learned that 68% of the parents were unemployed as a result of the pandemic. Nearly all of them reported needing help with at least one essential need such as food, diapers, rent, or paying for utilities like heat and electricity.
What we’re seeing won’t surprise you: families experiencing homelessness continue to be hit hardest because they lack resources to withstand the challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Horizons for Homeless Children continues to respond to the needs of families in the following ways:
- Food insecurity has emerged as one of the most common challenges to our families. We’ve responded with a pilot food program of fresh fruits and vegetables delivered directly to their doors. To supplement, we’ve also made direct deposits to families earmarked to help with bills and groceries. Our intent is to ensure that no child is hungry during their brain-building, formative years when the quality and quantity of nutrition are especially crucial.
- Delivering high-quality early education each day. Our centers have been safely re-opened since July, and our teachers are some of the first in the state to gain access to the vaccination, recognized as crucial front-line workers serving Boston’s most vulnerable population. In addition to education, children in our centers receive mental health supports and nutritional breakfast, lunch, and snacks, all vital to their healthy development.
- Horizons’ Playspace team recognized the challenge of parenting young children in shelter in a pandemic and piloted parent workshops, helping eliminate some of the isolation parents feel and supporting the developmental milestones of children. They’re also hosting outdoor playtime with PAL volunteers this spring for children living in shelters throughout the state.
- Family Advocates continue their work with parents as they pivot their career goals, build skills in financial literacy, and pursue educational aspirations that all work towards moving their families out of homelessness in sustainable and lasting ways.
All of us are facing the stresses the pandemic has caused this past year. While hope is on the horizon, the current hardships and aftermath of this crisis will continue to affect families facing homelessness for years to come.
If you would like to make a gift to support our work and help us meet the ongoing needs of our families, please click here.