Join the Story: Introducing Friends & Neighbors -

Friends & Neighbors

Join the Story: Introducing Friends & Neighbors

When tragedy strikes, most of us can rest assured that someone somewhere is baking a casserole. Friends gather to find out how they can intervene. Go Fund Me pages are launched. Flowers are sent. All to show the grieving that we care.

On a larger scale, in times of crisis, cities often band together in solidarity. We tell ourselves that we are at our best during these times, when we can depend on each other to get through a difficult period.

After all, that’s what friends and neighbors are for, isn’t it? We all benefit when we invest in each other.

But what happens if you’re alone? What if there are no friends or neighbors checking in to see how they can help? What if your options have run out and you and your children have nowhere to go?

You might not know it, but somewhere in your daily routine is a family who is experiencing homelessness. It might be the woman working overtime at the grocery check-out. It might be the student in your child’s class who is failing because he’s hungry.

The signs just aren’t always obvious as someone panhandling or sleeping on a park bench. The images that come to mind when we think about homelessness are often misleading. We think they are different from us somehow. And all too often we discount them because we don’t see them.

You’ve got more in common than you know.

Most of the adults referred to us are parents who, like you, are devoted to their children.

Contrary to popular belief, most are employed and work around the clock at low-paying jobs to support their families. But making ends meet is tough when 30% of your income is spent on rent, which is the case for almost half of all Richmond renters. Even if you could afford the rent, finding a landlord willing to rent to someone who has experienced homelessness is next to impossible.

As a result, hundreds of Richmond children find themselves sleeping at emergency shelters, or living out of cars, motels and other temporary spaces. They struggle in school and suffer from mental and physical health challenges. Many drop out before graduation, perpetuating the cycle and stigma of homelessness.

Richmonders just like you need their friends and neighbors to help them get through. But, it’s easy to turn away from what we cannot see. That’s why, starting this month, we will bring you stories spotlighting Richmond Friends & Neighbors impacted by homelessness. You’ll meet families who have experienced homelessness first-hand and members of the community who dedicate their nights and weekends to find permanent housing and the support families need to thrive.

We invite you to read their stories and share them so that others will learn more about family homelessness. Our friends and neighbors are counting on you. Will you join their story?