Father’s Day is a good time to remember the plight of homeless families. All those who are homeless need our help — individuals, families, and mothers with children all need our attention. One group that does not get as much attention as it should, however, is homeless single fathers with children.
As the economy continues to limp on and hiring statistics remain abysmal, there are still too many who are finding themselves out of a job and unable to find another. This is just as true for homeless fathers as it is for homeless mothers.
Two of the biggest issues for homeless fathers are the lack of recognition of their situation which results in a lack of resources, and shelters that split up men from women and children or don’t accept men at all, even if they are single fathers.
A Lack of Recognition…
Whatever the reasons for the lack of knowledge and/or interest in the issues that homeless fathers face, the important point is that the lack of recognition leads to a lack of resources they can turn to for help.
One article interviewed a father of a four-year-old son who was facing homelessness. His frantic calls to rescue missions and homeless shelters all around his area left him empty-handed; he was told by multiple agencies that they take women and children only. The article quoted the father as saying, “People are telling me this is a type of situation where guys don’t usually get their kids and they don’t have funding for that.” Because agencies and shelters see far fewer single fathers in these type of situations (versus single mothers), they are unable to provide desperately needed services.
…Leads to a Lack of Resources
In other words, a lack of recognition of the situation homeless single fathers find themselves in has led to a lack of resources and help. Another article, this one from KOLD, a TV station in Tucson, Arizona, features, among the stories of other homeless individuals, a father in a similar situation to the man above. He was able to find help at the only emergency shelter in Tucson that will take single fathers and their children and keep them together.
The father, Atilla Streyar, told reporter Barbara Grijalva, “There was no place in this town that I could find that takes care of men and children by themselves.” Of the 18 homeless shelters and rescue missions in Tucson, Mr. Streyar found only one that was able to take a single father and his child.
Helping Homeless Fathers
It is difficult for homeless fathers to find a place to stay when shelters don’t allow men to stay with women and/or children. At Joy Junction, we accept everyone we can safely fit into our building, regardless of sex, age, gender or religion.
Most importantly, we don’t split families up — even if that family consists of a single father and his children. Shelter in the midst of homelessness is difficult enough to find without being turned away due to lack of resources or ability to help.