posted on June 10, 2015 13:26
The 23nd annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk will begin in Provincetown on Monday, July 13 and finish in Falmouth on Sunday, July 19. The Walk is conducted by eleven local agencies across the Cape who work together as a team to provide safe and affordable housing and to help local families in need.
The need is real and it’s all around us. These are our neighbors. They might be taking care of the elderly. They might be waiting on us at our favorite restaurant. They might be doing our landscaping or driving our kids to school. Working two jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. Our neighbors need our help sometimes.
. . . and the need is growing. Here on the Cape, more than 5,600 of our children are living below the poverty line. Sadly, that number has more than quadrupled in the past ten years.
“Most of our clients are working full-time, but still struggling to make ends meet.” A working family earning an average Cape Cod wage must work 84 hours every week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Seasonal workers often work two or three jobs in the summer, trying to save enough to get through the winter when jobs are scarce. When you’re just getting by paycheck to paycheck, the recent jump in utility rates, an expensive car repair or a big medical bill can be devastating. Missing work to care for a sick child can mean there’s not enough in the paycheck for rent.
Helping families stay in their homes makes sense from every perspective - less turmoil and upheaval for the families, and far less costly. It costs an average of $25,000 to provide shelter and services to a family that becomes homeless. The average cost to help a family through a tough time and keep them in their home is only $1,500.
“Thank you so much, so much.” Monica, a single mom with three kids, works locally. For many years the only home she and her kids knew were hotels, the most recent being the infamous Craigville Motel that was shut down this year. When the shutdown order came, Monica and her kids had ten days to find another place. HECH was able to take them into one of their affordable units that had just come available. When Monica and her children came to her new place for the first time, she burst into tears. “Somebody cares and wants to help us.”
Having a medical disability can make it tough to support yourself and your son. Ralph, a single loving dad, was a boxer as a young man suffering brain trauma as a result. He didn’t know it until the good folks at HAC got involved and realized he was struggling with simple things like filling out his application for affordable housing. Ralph has a steady job, no drinking or drugs. Ralph was a great dad, very caring and attentive with his son. He was doing his best and needed help. HAC got him connected with health services and disability benefits. HAC also got Ralph and his son into an apartment he can afford. A deserving family is now safe and getting the help they need.
“Children are our most vulnerable clients.” Where does a foster child go when they “age out” of foster care and have go out on their own? When there is no place to turn except the streets, CHAMP Homes provide a safe home. Kim is a great example. Having lived in foster homes since she was six, Kim turned 18 and was out of the foster care system. She found a job and saved her money to cover first and last months’ rent on a small apartment. When she arrived, she found the unit was occupied. She had been scammed and all the money she saved was gone. Kim, at age 19 and just out of foster care, was suddenly alone and homeless. She stayed in a night shelter for a few weeks until she was welcomed at CHAMP Homes. Now she is a happy and contributing resident at CHAMP Homes. She holds down two jobs and she’s attending Cape Cod Community College studying for her associate degree in nursing. In Kim’s words “CHAMP Homes is a family.”
Where can you go when home is not safe? Terry, a single mom with three small children finally got away from a difficult situation and had to make a new start. She had nothing, no money and no car. The closest family shelter is in Bourne, too far for a mom with no car. Chatham Ecumenical Council for the Homeless (CECH) found Terry a place to live beginning in June/July. Until then, she is living with her kids in a tent in Nickerson State Park. Terry is fighting hard to make a new start. She needs our help.
We have renamed our event the Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk to recognize Bob's dedication over the past 22 years on behalf of the Cape's homeless. Bob’s efforts have raised more than $4.2 million to help folks in need. The Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk has been helping local housing programs provide families the housing stabilization they so desperately need. Cape folks know that 100% of their donations will go directly to benefit local families in need.
“The safety net has holes in it, we try to find ways to help and we usually do. We never give up.”
Each agency relies heavily on the proceeds from this Walk and on your generosity. They deserve our support.