Many homeless dads will spend this Father’s Day separated from their children, working hard to get back on their feet and reunite with their families. Although we don’t often think of homeless men as fathers, 15 percent of the 2.5 million homeless children in the United States come from single-father households, according to Invisible People, a nonprofit organization focused on raising homelessness awareness.
Many of the homeless dads at the Allentown Rescue Mission are separated from their children for various reasons, including addiction, poor choices, and mental health issues. Most are battling some form of life-altering trauma and are committed to rebuilding their independence, regaining self-esteem, and renewing relationships with their loved ones. While many clients feel they have burned all their bridges, it’s a joy when they are able to reconcile with family members, especially their children.
“By helping families now – by enabling fathers to return home and provide their children with guidance they probably never had themselves – we can begin to break the cycle of generational poverty and change the pattern of despair and hopelessness in our city,” stated Stuart Smith, CEO of the Allentown Rescue Mission.
Bill, a guest at the Allentown Rescue Mission, has maintained a relationship with his children but will not be able to spend Father’s Day with them because of COVID-19 restrictions and financial restraints. “I wish with all my heart that I could be with my kids,” Bill responded when asked about being separated from his children. “The Allentown Rescue Mission has helped me on so many levels, especially with my anger. I will be a better person when I do see them.”