Back to School: With or Without Homes?

boarding school bus
A Davenport child boards a school bus to begin the school day.

As summer vacation draws to a close, kids everywhere prepare to return to school. Stores are filled with school supplies; back-to-school advertising fills our TVs, radio and mailboxes. Many families scurry from store to store to purchase supplies, backpacks, clothes and haircuts. As children, we hated to see summer end, but we fondly remembered the annual ritual and the excitement of choosing new supplies and clothing to ease us into the new school year.

But, sadly, not all families and children in Scott County experience a new school year like this. While it may be hard to imagine, here in the Midwest hundreds of children don’t have a home to call their own. On any average day, Humility of Mary Housing provides nearly 50 apartments to children in families who are housing insecure. Lacking a secure place to live triggers a constant source of trauma for children in our community.

Permanent housing is a critical and basic need. Research has consistently shown that unless children’s most basic needs are met in a safe and consistent manner, their social, emotional, physical and cognitive development is often delayed. For them, back to school may usher in a round of discouraging setbacks as they struggle to succeed despite deficits that aren’t their fault.

A misconception about homeless parents is that they are slacking in providing for their children. Some remark: “they need to work like the rest of us.

Actually, the vast majority of families in homeless shelters are employed. They’re doing everything they can to move themselves to self-sufficiency and support their families. The problem is not with their motivation to support themselves. The challenge is that there is not housing available to them that they can afford.

If you’d like to assist these families, please partner with us at Humility of Mary Housing. We’re collecting back-to-school supplies to send our children to schools with new items and tools to help them learn. It’s not too late to help a child succeed. Our future will be brighter with your help.