The Hidden Face of Homelessness Campaign

Family Promise launches ‘The Hidden Face of Homelessness’ Campaign. Life-sized child cutouts greet commuters throughout greater Grand Rapids.

Family Promise of Grand Rapids launched a new initiative today, “The Hidden Face of Homelessness” to generate awareness and to raise funds for homeless children in Kent County. Commuters throughout the Grand Rapids area were greeted by life-sized cardboard cutouts of children holding signs that share unsettling statistics like, “more than 3,000 children are homeless in Kent County.” (video b-roll available: https://vimeo.com/238841848/e1e61ef24d)

“When people think of a homeless individual, they typically think of a panhandler or an adult living on the streets,” says Kate O’Keefe,Community Relations and Development Manager for Family Promise of Grand Rapids. “People rarely think of a child who is homeless, but the reality is that there are more than 3,000 children in Kent County who are homeless, and the average age of children who walk through our doors is 5 years old or younger. Just because these children aren’t as visible doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Family homelessness is a very real problem in Grand Rapids. We hope to change the stereotype of what homelessness looks like, so that, as a community, we can make a difference in the lives of children and families who live and work in our community, but don’t have a place to call home.

The campaign aims to:

  1. Bring awareness to the issues of family homelessness.
  2. Raise funds to provide emergency shelter, basic needs and help families find a place to call home.
  3. Engage the Grand Rapids community to be part of an effort where all can live, work and play. Check out our website www.helpgrkids.com to learn more about ways to support children and their families who are homeless.
This local effort is part of a larger campaign called, Family Promise Week, a nationwide effort to help children and families who are homeless regain their sustainable independence. The week of Sunday, October 22, through Sunday, October 29, has been designated Family Promise Week. Family Promise Week will be celebrated nationwide and in the 206 communities where there is a Family Promise Affiliate. Nationally, since 1988, Family Promise has helped more than 750,000 families with children by providing shelter, basic needs, case management, and other support services.

Check out their website www.helpgrkids.com to learn more about “The Hidden Face of Homelessness Campaign, make a financial gift, volunteer, and find other ways to support children and their families who are homeless.

Facts about family and child homelessness:

  • Over 80% of families in our emergency shelter are employed.
  • Family homelessness is the fastest growing homeless population.
  • 90% of our families find a place to call home and 90% of these families are still housed 1 year later.

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