Beneath the beauty of New Hampshire’s picturesque landscapes lies a hidden crisis that impacts the lives of thousands of parents and children: family homelessness.
You won’t find families dwelling on the street; instead, they seek out temporary shelter wherever they can: a car, a friend’s couch, or even a walk-in closet, as one of our residents recently shared.
In honor of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, let’s explore the facts and dispel the fiction about homelessness in New Hampshire.
Facts vs. Fiction
- T/F Homelessness only affects single men!
- False! Families make up a significant portion of the homeless population in NH. Over 4,000 children (enough to fill a minor-league baseball stadium) are unhoused.
- T/F Homeless families sleep on the street.
- False! Many homeless families find themselves sleeping on couches or in cars out of necessity to keep their children safe. This is still not a form of safe and stable housing nor a lifestyle choice.
- T/F Homeless families are easily identifiable.
- False! Family homelessness often goes unnoticed for a variety of factors. Families may move from a car to a friend’s couch to avoid risking their safety on the street. Some families might find other temporary solutions such as a motel stay sponsored by emergency assistance programs. The stigma associated with homelessness often results in families and their children not sharing their housing insecurity with others.
The Larger Impact & How You Can Help
Here’s the reality: these families – parents and children – are already part of our everyday lives. They stand behind us in the grocery store line, patiently calculating the sum of what’s in their carts; they ride the same school bus as your children, swapping stories of imaginative adventures on the playground; they sit beside you in the church pew, seeking solace and community, just like you. These families experiencing homelessness are our neighbors, and we want you to know them as we do.
Marguerite’s Place ensures that our resident families aren’t just seen; they’re empowered. Our intentionally comprehensive programming aims to end cyclical homelessness and poverty, interrupt the impact of trauma on future generations, and provide a lasting solution to familial stability and success.
By supporting organizations like Marguerite’s Place, advocating for affordable housing policies, and helping us raise awareness about this hidden crisis while encouraging empathy for our most vulnerable neighbors, we can work collectively to ensure that every family in NH has a safe and stable place to call home.