Jackie Turner: Can homelessness be ended? I see it happen every day
Homeless women and children is a set of words no one wants to hear. It’s hard enough being alone in homelessness, but then imagine having the added responsibility of fearing how you will provide for your children.
Some people will jump on the bandwagon with remarks of why a person shouldn’t have had children, or how they need to get a job. Yet many of the people who say such remarks would be ones who have never come close enough to know the truth.
My name is Jackie Turner and I work with homeless women and children. Every day I get to see and be a part of the cycle of homelessness being broken. I work at an organization called Acres of Hope. At Acres we realize that the method to true transformation and renewal is being able to deal with the root wounds, and pull them up so we can replant a fresh seed of hope into fertile soil.
The women and their children who come to Acres of Hope, based in Auburn, come from a variety of complex experiences. Some have aged out of the foster care system, some have left domestic violence, some got lost in addiction after experiencing a lifetime of trauma.
In order to attack some of the root issues that go on for our Acres Families we have to recognize that they have gone through intense trauma. To do this, residents are offered counseling and case management. They are given a mentor and taught life skills to succeed. The women go through a curriculum that will enhance their lives.
Acres of Hope provides stability by giving the women and children tiny cottages to live in so they can breathe again. The women and children have what they need to thrive. These women are getting their education, getting jobs, finding their own homes. They are growing into strong mothers. They are able to build communities that are filled with support and love.
Each moment that a victory happens, we rejoice. The first driver’s license, the completion of a job training, the first step into their own place. The women and children at Acres of Hope are proving homelessness can end for all those who are willing to step up and stand the test and trials.
Can homelessness end? Absolutely. I see it ending for people every day.
Jackie Turner lives in Nevada City.
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