Friends Association Promotes Awareness Week Nov. 13-21 in Effort to End Homelessness

Young mom with her baby.
Image via Friends Association.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we turn grateful hearts toward home and a holiday meal.

But many in the United States will have neither this season and so we also turn toward those needing our help.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Nov. 13 to Nov. 21 exists with that spirit of helping in mind.  It was created at Villanova University back in 1975.

This week, more than 700 colleges, high schools, and community groups across the country will come together to raise awareness about the pressing issues of hunger and homelessness.

That includes the Chester County nonprofit, Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children.

Partnership to End Homelessness

Friends Association is one of the nonprofits partnering in a new program being launched this week by Chester County, the  Chester County Partnership to End Homelessness.

The program helps the most vulnerable find a stable place to live.

It uses a team of street outreach workers, an advisory board of people who have experienced homelessness, and nonprofit organizations like Friends that provide shelter and service.

“In a county as affluent as ours, some people may think we do not have homelessness, but in fact, hundreds of people every day lack a stable place to live, and the pandemic only exacerbated the problem,” said Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline.

Friends Association Executive Director Jennifer Lopez said the issue of homelessness is complex.

“It has its roots in systemic racism that has prevented people from being able to afford housing and to build wealth,” she said. “There are challenges around mental illness and substance use disorder, a lot of social problems, low minimum wage, and domestic violence that have led to the homelessness issue that we have in the county.”

Friends will be celebrating their 200th anniversary next year, and Lopez said the agency has always looked at what the community has said it needed and focused its mission on meeting those needs.

“People have to understand it’s not a moral failing to become un-housed,” she said.

About Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week draws attention to the problem of poverty through local community events, encouraging volunteers to support local anti-poverty agencies like Friends Association.

This year’s focus is on ending the criminalization of homelessness, as many cities have passed laws making it illegal for homeless to loiter in public places.

The Statistics

  • There are an estimated 37.2 million Americans living below the poverty line. That means choosing between basic necessities like food, paying rent, or going to the doctor.
  • There are an estimated 580,000 Americans that are homeless on a typical night.
  • There are 44 million Americans at risk of suffering from hunger.
  • One in six children in the U.S. is living in poverty.

Here’s What You Can Do

1. Host an Event and bring Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week to your community.

Here’s a link to register your local event.

2. Volunteer. Search for an Awareness Week event near you and find out how to get involved.

 Check this interactive map for an event near you.

3. Donate. Make a gift to support year-round work to end hunger and homelessness.

Make a donation to the Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children.

Here’s a link to donate to the The National Coalition for the Homeless.

Find out more about Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children.

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