By the time you read this, school will be out for summer. The last voicemail we
received from the school wished everyone a summer of fun, connection with family and friends, rest and relaxation. I appreciate the sentiment and whole-heartedly wish this for all of us. At the same time, I can’t help but think about some of the children in my daughter’s
second grade class: the boy who was excited to get a “real bed” and stop sleeping on the bathmat; the girl who was unable to come to school because of “family problems;” the exhausted youngster who “slept” in the family truck the night before; and the sweet girl who cried because her mama didn’t know where they would sleep that night. These are real live 8-year-old children in our community right now. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In 2017, when we started our capital campaign to build the Myr-Ken Dorm to provide shelter for families experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness, there were 300 children in Haywood schools who had been identified as homeless. Five years later, the number is the same. And those are just the children we know of….over 50% of children experiencing homelessness nationwide are under the age of 5—not yet in school to be counted.

If “home” is shelter from the storms of life, some of us are getting soaked by the downpours. And for our littlest neighbors, the effects of homelessness and housing insecurity have potentially negative and long-lasting effects, especially if there is no intervention. The mitigation of these effects is precisely why the Myr-Ken Dorm exists.

On June 24th, we will celebrate 3 years of providing shelter and support services on site to
families experiencing homelessness in Haywood County. We can do this because YOU all came together to make it happen!

Thank you for giving Pathways the resources to provide shelter for 50 families. With support from Pathways’ staff, 77% of the families have stable monthly income, 39% are employed, 97-100% have medical care and SNAP benefits and 91% exited to housing.
While there is clearly more work to be done, we cannot say thank you enough for partnering with us over the past 3 years to provide temporary shelter from the storms of life for those desperately in need of a hand up. We are all definitely stronger together.

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