As part of our ongoing conversation on homelessness, we asked members of the Family Promise network and individuals working to serve families experiencing homelessness to share their personal thoughts and reflections on Family Promise and the issue of family homelessness. These writers are true thought leaders, using their skills and expertise to develop and implement creative solutions that are changing the lives of parents and children in their communities. This interview is with Andrew Nishimoto, Executive Director of Family Promise of the South Bay.
Andrew Nishimoto on How COVID-19 Has Impacted Family Promise of the South Bay
First, can you tell us what the current state of homelessness is in your community? How has COVID-19 impacted things? What makes your community unique as it pertains to family homelessness?
Currently, homelessness is in a constant state of flux. With so many of our families coming from multi-generational shared housing, the added tension that a pandemic brings has caused our staff to act as mediators and counselors through this difficult time.
Our community specifically has a difficult time recognizing what homelessness is because of the disparity of wealth in our area. With that disparity also comes a high barrier to entry into housing as the cost of living continues to rise disproportionately to income.
What makes you most concerned right now?
The most concerning aspect of family homelessness right now is the uncertainty surrounding the future. With the amount of job loss and vulnerable families experiencing heightened stress, the amount of need is sure to grow exponentially.
What makes you most hopeful right now?
Our community support has been incredible! We have seen both our local community and our local government start to step up and recognize that we need to address the needs of the most vulnerable right now! The outpouring of support brings hope to a difficult moment in history.
How can people in your community who want to get involved do so?
While there are limited opportunities to currently volunteer on-site, there are still ways to be involved. Some more practical options are to donate to your locate Affiliate, stay involved in your city government decision making, and continue to educate those around you about the reality of family homelessness!
What is one thing you wish more people knew about family homelessness in America and in your community?
We are continually educating the community about the state of family homelessness in their city. By sharing data on the number of school-age students experiencing homelessness and providing a platform for graduate families, we can move away from some existing and damaging stigmas and provide a more solutions-based foundation for the conversation.