Family Gateway Supports Community as Number of Families Requiring Emergency Shelter Grows

Family Gateway Logo_edit
Official logo of Family Gateway. | Image by Family Gateway

As the weather gets colder, people experiencing homelessness are in dire need of shelter. Family Gateway is an organization working to provide support and stability for families with children in the Dallas community who are affected by homelessness.

According to Kendall Brown, Director of Marketing and Youth Engagement, Family Gateway’s mission is to provide “stability and life-saving supportive services” to families and children. These services include emergency shelter, supportive housing, general and employment case management, and educational programs. They also help families by finding alternatives to shelter, which can include negotiating with landlords to avoid an eviction or connecting families in need with relatives who may live in other cities. If there are no other options, families with children are triaged to one of Family Gateway’s shelters or a partner shelter. Family Gateway also serves families of all types, from single parent households to multigenerational families.

Brown said that there are many misconceptions surrounding homelessness. “Many of our families live in poverty or on the edge of poverty and then suffer a devastating event like the loss of a job, a serious illness, or violence in the household,” Brown said. “Without a safety net or family to fall back on, they come to us.” Brown added that although panhandlers and people living on the street are the most visible of Dallas’s homeless population, it is not necessarily representative of all the people who are affected by homelessness. “It is likely rare that you have seen a homeless mother and children in the street,” Brown said. “Family Gateway serves those who are mostly invisible to us, as they sleep in their cars, ‘couch surf’ from place to place, and live in and out of hotels.”

Since it is rare to see a homeless family with children on the streets, some of us may not realize just how many homeless children there are. Research shows that 2.5 million children experience homelessness each year, and while homelessness is undoubtedly difficult for anyone, it can be particularly detrimental for children. “For children, experiencing homelessness has negative effects on their academic and social-emotional development,” Brown said. Because children who experience homelessness tend to move homes often until their family becomes stabilized, their lives can be stressful and unpredictable, and this environment ultimately dampers their ability to learn and grow. Brown said that Family Gateway understands the toll homelessness takes on children and stated, “Our team works diligently every day to meet the educational and social-emotional needs of the children in our care.”

There are ways to help Family Gateway in their mission to provide support for local families, and according to Brown, there has never been a better time to support local shelters. “We are experiencing a significant increase in need from families with children in our community,” Brown said. “The number of new families requiring emergency shelter has doubled from about thirty families each month to sixty. Currently, our 35-room shelter in downtown Dallas is full, our 50-room shelter in Far North Dallas is full, our 10 rooms at The Salvation Army are full, and we are supporting more than 40 families in ‘overflow’ hotel space until a shelter room becomes available.”

Monetary support is the best way to help Family Gateway’s mission to serve the community, and donations can be made here. Other ways to help include donating toiletries, bedding, and other essential items, and you can find the organization’s complete wish list here. During the holiday season, local organizations and groups are encouraged to organize toy drives for the children in Family Gateway’s care. “With the increasing number of children and families in our program, we need more toys than ever before this year,” Brown said. To learn more about hosting a toy drive for the holiday season, email [email protected].

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article