We are all in this together
Coronavirus has presented us with unprecedented challenges, but it has also presented a unique opportunity to pause, spend time with those we love, and uplift the most vulnerable members of our communities. For the first time in generations, Americans are facing deep uncertainty, questioning their health, safety, and security.
Please, take a moment to imagine facing these insecurities while facing homelessness.
You wake up, sleeping head-to-foot with your own children, with two other unfamiliar parents and their children just feet away, in an average-sized dorm room.
Belongings you couldn’t fit into a shelter locker, are kept in three bags under your bed—the last of what you could salvage from an unsafe living situation. When you stretch your arms out, you begin to encroach another family’s personal space. The shelter itself is at capacity— there’s nowhere else to go. Your kids are out of school all day, every day. You are expected to home school them. But you never received your own diploma, because you missed too many days of high school caring for your own siblings. And at age 17, you faced the harsh reality of abandonment, when you told your mom you were pregnant with your first child.
You are mandated to shelter-in-place, 24-hours-a-day, alongside 140 strangers to protect the health of everyone. Looking for escape, you go to the cafeteria, turn on the T.V., and are overwhelmed by the negative media coverage. Instead of succumbing to the devastation, you try to focus on your few blessings—a coping strategy you learned from one of the social-workers onsite.
Your family is still together. They are healthy, and adaptable. Scared? Yes. But you are also resilient. Your kids have full bellies, and clean clothes. And unlike others in the shelter, you are not struggling with your sobriety. You want your children to have the chance you didn’t. You didn’t choose this life, and you are determined to ensure they have an equitable chance at success. They will emerge and overcome poverty endured by your family for generations.
You are determined to make the most of your stay. You are surrounded by supportive and caring residential staff who are putting your needs first, and are genuinely interested in seeing you succeed. Together you are developing a plan for next steps —and that is reason enough to stay strong and keep going today.
Fortunately, you and I have a place to call home. However, for many families facing homelessness, like those served at People’s Emergency Center (PEC), the trauma experienced in their past is compounded by societal expectations, prejudice and everyday challenges. The international pandemic has emphasized the dire need for support of society’s most vulnerable members and highlighted the inequity of access to basic needs and healthcare.
PEC has remained a steadfast support to Philadelphia’s most underserved families, in the wake of personal, societal and political chaos. We remain open 24/7, caring for families experiencing homelessness on-site, supporting their basic needs and providing services to elevate above a lifetime of trauma. Since the beginning of shelter-in-place mandates, we have provided seven-day food provisions to 500 families and seniors in need weekly. And we have continued to conduct programming remotely and disseminate critical information to keep people safe, healthy, financially stable, and prepared for the days ahead.
We are deeply grateful for your partnership with PEC. We turn to you, as a leading advocate, because your support is especially critical at this moment. Please consider making a donation online* to PEC to help us continue life-sustaining services to those in greatest need.
Help our residents believe that we are in this together. Thank you for all you have done and will do to support PEC families in need.
*For other ways to support PEC, click here.