According to Voices of Youth Count, there are 1.1 million children who have a young parent who has experienced homelessness in this past year. 1.1 million children. We know through our own research that on average there are 3 teen moms in LCSD #1 who are houseless.
Three young women who have children or are pregnant who have no place to raise that child, who have no stability to try and finish school and give their child a stable home life. Many of these young parents seek services and support, but most often these services are unable to provide for minors.
This is a crisis across our nation, and it’s something that we have taken up on our hearts to do something about. Focus on youth was the call heard from this congregation. Focus on the children. Focus on houselessness. Focus on those who don’t have.
We followed that call, and we landed ourselves in the middle of a $202,600 campaign to DO SOMETHING about the problem. We knew we wouldn’t be able to accomplish this on our own, so we set out to work with other businesses and nonprofits in Cheyenne, to intentionally build a community that is ready for action.
But still, our hearts hurt when we think of these young people in our community who are struggling just to find a step. Where do these young teen moms go now when they find themselves in the midst of houselessness? They land at SafeHouse, which is not an appropriate place for them. They don’t have the support for their education and future that they deserve.
SafeHouse contacted Unaccompanied Students Initiative asking for help. USI is a group that already works with houseless teens, and they are set up to do exactly what these mothers need, or very close to it.
At this same time, we felt God calling and pulling us to help youth in Cheyenne, and approached USI about doing a joint project with them. Our campaign blossomed and was created, and we have set off in a wonderful direction.
We have pledges that will bring us halfway to our goal. We are seeking and talking with businesses and other nonprofits in town to see how they can help support this build. Our region is ecstatic about this project. St. Marks Episcopal Church is giving a grant for the land for the house to be built on.
We truly are in the midst of accomplishing the goals for this campaign. We are creating community. We are bringing to light an issue that has been suppressed. And most importantly, we are DOING SOMETHING. Let’s continue this forward momentum we have. Let’s not lose these threads! Let’s reach $202,600 in raised money to build a house for these vulnerable women in Cheyenne, for their children. So maybe one day we can start to change the tide of these statistics.
This truly is God’s work, our hands.