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The Not-So-'Hidden Homeless'

In the land where dreams are born and possibilities seem endless, a shadowed reality persists—the hidden homeless. As the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines, homelessness is not just confined to the traditional image of individuals sleeping on the streets. It encompasses a much broader spectrum, with countless individuals, particularly pregnant women, experiencing homelessness in ways that often remain unnoticed by society. In a nation striving for progress and prosperity, it becomes imperative to unveil this concealed crisis and extend a helping hand to those who need it most. Virginia Women and Family Support Center is on a mission to provide security, safety, and support to every single pregnant homeless woman, and we won’t stop until we do.

The Hidden Homeless: A Statistical Overview

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), the statistical landscape of homelessness in the United States is staggering. On a single night in 2020, approximately 580,000 people were homelessness across the nation. The data revealed a stark dichotomy: 61% of these individuals sought refuge in sheltered locations, while a distressing 39% had no choice but to occupy unsheltered spaces unfit for human habitation. These statistics, however, are mere numbers, incapable of conveying the human stories, struggles, and vulnerabilities hidden beneath the surface.

The Dimensions of Doubled-Up Living

Researchers at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and the Heartland Alliance Social IMPACT Research Center, pioneered a novel approach to measuring homelessness. Their census-based model recognized that homelessness extends beyond the physical confines of shelters or streets, encompassing those who live "doubled-up." Doubled-up is the informal wording used to describe a concept included in the McKinney-Vento Act’s definition of homeless. It refers to shared living arrangements, some of which may be considered homeless, while others may not be, depending on various factors. This accounts for the staggering reality that in 2019, 3.7 million people in the United States were living doubled-up, a term that masks the true vulnerability and instability they face.

Bearing Witness to the Unseen Struggles

Statistics, while crucial for understanding the scope of a problem, fail to capture the depth of human suffering. They cannot encapsulate the heart-wrenching tales of mothers desperately seeking shelter with their newborn babies, victims of abusive relationships yearning for safety, or women enduring years of transient living conditions while carrying the burden of pregnancy. These stories, often lost amidst the cold figures and charts, are at the core of the crisis faced by the hidden homeless.

Virginia Women and Family Support Center

Virginia Women and Family Support Center aspires to be a guiding light, actively working to bridge the gap between the hidden homeless and a secure future. Each day, we answer the calls of these vulnerable mothers (up to 10 calls per day!), extending a hand of compassion, understanding, and tangible support. VAWFSC recognizes that statistics alone cannot enact change; it is through the collective efforts of compassionate individuals that transformation becomes possible.

Read Maya's beautiful story of despair to joy, and view photos of her and her daughter here.

Read Maya's beautiful story of despair to joy, and view photos of her and her daughter here.

The Solution is You

The hidden homeless, often overshadowed by numbers and percentages, deserve to have their voices heard and their struggles acknowledged. Virginia Women and Family Support Center is dedicated to the mission of housing every pregnant homeless women, by shining a light on the darkest corners of this crisis. We all can be a part of the solution. In a nation built on the promise of a brighter future, it is through collective action that we can ensure that no pregnant woman has to face the daunting journey of homelessness alone. 

The choice is simple: will you stand in solidarity with pregnant women and their families at Virginia Women and Family Support Center? Learn more about how you can be the solution by becoming a Cycle Breaker here.

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