Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Sun, 23 Apr 2000 17:00:30 -0700

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Mothers Day is fast approaching. As we remember the Mothers in our 
own families, please remember the Mothers who are homeless - living 
in shelters, cars, and on the streets. These are Mothers who want the 
best for their children, but are unable to provide the basic 
necessities of food, shelter, and clothing.

Why is it that the "social service" departments of this country have 
been so cruel to conspire to "end welfare as we know it," and then 
blame the parents for inadequacies? Parents are struggling to make 
ends meet with dismal amounts of money. This is designed to drive 
people into an unsympathetic workforce, and often without childcare.

In this critical housing shortage for low-income renters, where are 
low-income families to live? Too often we hear of families forced out 
of stable housing, only to couch hop until a shelter bed is 
available, putting others at risk of homelessness. Applying for 
Section 8 vouchers gives people a sense of hope until they attempt to 
find a landlord in San Francisco willing to accept the voucher 
subsidies. Applying to the housing authority means being put on a 
waiting list, which now means a wait of anywhere from five to ten 
years to obtain a unit in a public housing project. And in the 
meantime, people are doing what they have to do to survive.

Some Mothers are forced to spend their semi-monthly check for a week 
in an SRO hotel, just to provide a roof over their heads. We in San 
Francisco know the nightmare of "musical rooms" involved in this 
situation. This expense usually depletes the family of funds which 
forces them to get meals from St. Anthony's dining room or Glide. 
Then along comes Child Protective Services to remove the children 
charging the parent with "neglect." This new system has been 
neglectful to parents and children both. Where's the help? Where's 
the compassion? Where's the respect?

To the Mothers in this awful situation, know that you are not alone. 
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families are facing these cruel 
hardships. Keep loving your children, and don't be discouraged when 
you can't buy the latest fashion fads for your children. Your love 
and patience is the best thing you can do for your family. Believe 
me, kids try your patience even when you can afford to provide the 
things they want and need. Make sure your children get the best 
education possible so that they won't suffer the indignities and 
harassment you go through. If you need assistance and someone to help 
you fight the system, please give us a call.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY from Family Rights and Dignity! Be strong - 
because the welfare system is always waiting there to remind you that 
you have the right to remain homeless.


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