NEW YORK— Family homelessness is a national issue with locally-tailored solutions affecting children from rural, urban, and suburban communities alike. With implications that go far beyond the immediate crisis of housing instability, children experiencing homelessness are more likely to face food insecurity, higher rates of anxiety and depression, educational disparities, and chronic health problems. Across the country, schools, non-profit organizations, local governments, and individuals are working tirelessly to help prevent and mitigate the effects of homelessness on children in their communities. At Beyond Housing: A National Conversation on Child Homelessness and Poverty, the sixth biennial conference hosted by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH), Indiana-based organization WellSpring was honored for its work in reducing the impact of homelessness on children and their families.
The Beyond Housing Award honors people and organizations whose work exemplifies the idea that homelessness is much more than a housing issue. Recipients’ work goes “beyond housing” to provide services and support to homeless families while keeping the needs of children at the forefront.
WellSpring is the largest provider of services and the only shelter for families experiencing homelessness in the rural community of Morgan County, Indiana. WellSpring aims to coach families along “7 Dimensions of Wellness,” encouraging them to create individualized goals in areas such as physical, emotional, and occupational wellbeing. They also offer families comprehensive educational programming, including an after-school program that has maintained a 100% graduation rate over the past four years.
“While we want our families to become independently housed, that is not the end all be all,” says Bob Goodrum, Executive Director of WellSpring. “We desire for them to reach physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational wellness. Our hope is that this episode of homelessness will be their last.”
The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) is a New York City-based policy research organization focused on family and child homelessness in New York City and throughout the United States. Learn more at www.ICPHusa.org.