The Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. recognizes November 11, 2012 thru November 16, 2012 as Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week. As we prepare for Thanksgiving and engage in community and family traditions it is important to remember that hunger & homelessness are not American traditions. The nation sets aside one week during the year to draw attention to the plight of those without enough food and nourishment and those who are homeless. We encourage the community to become further involved with the issues of hunger and homelessness. The Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. collaborates with other agencies, businesses and the faith community to develop solutions to alleviate hunger and assist the homeless with needed services.
During FY ’12 BRASS, Inc. sheltered 343 homeless women and children. Homelessness has many faces. Domestic violence is often identified as the number one cause of homelessness for women. Nationally, one in four homeless women report that domestic violence led to their homeless status. In Kentucky one in eleven women have reported a correlation between homelessness and domestic violence. Statistics indicate that the risk of violence against women increases during episodes of homelessness. Kentucky has a network of 15 domestic violence shelters (one in each area development district) that work to provide emergency shelter and support services for families affected by domestic violence.
Women also make up a growing number of homeless veterans. Homelessness among female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars has increased every year for the last six years, from 150 in 2006 to 1700 in 2011.
As a community we are challenged to get involved to help make sure that families have enough food to eat and the homeless are able to access shelter or safe housing. The theme of the 2012 Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is “Resolve to Fight Poverty.” We challenge all citizens to support this message through one of the following activities:
• Find out how you can help prepare and/or serve a meal at a local shelter or community kitchen.
• Locate food banks and food pantries in your neighborhood and pass on the information to those in need.
• Hold a food drive in your workplace, school or church and donate the proceeds to a local food pantry or food bank.
• Attempt to provide three healthy means to your family using only the average daily Food Stamp amount allotted per person of $2.86 per day.
• Encourage your children and grandchildren to research the effects of hunger on the education of children. Encourage them to develop solutions to childhood hunger.
• Host a blanket collection for a local shelter.
• Learn about the shelters located in the Barren River Area Development District.
• Find out how the Earned Income Tax credit helps low-income working families.
• Skip that extra cup of take-out coffee for a week and donate the money to a local food pantry.
• Purchase grocery store gift cards and donate to a local food pantry.
• Each year the Kentucky Housing Corporation facilitates a Point in Time Count-a 24 hour snapshot of homelessness in the Commonwealth. This year’s count is titled KCOUNT and will be held on January 30, 2013. Volunteer to assist: www.kyhousing.org
We can all be part of the solution to hunger & homelessness.