An Okanagan non-profit group is raising awareness around invisible homelessness.
These are individuals and families who may not fit the conventional image of homelessness but are living in unstable and insecure housing situations.
Invisible homeless include mothers with newborns and toddlers who end up living in their cars, camping in remote areas, or staying in unsafe domestic situations because they feel there is no other option.
Mamas for Mamas has launched the “Fill the Housing Gap” campaign, which aims to support families in finding long-term housing solutions.
The goal is to raise $250,000 that will go directly to help those living in invisible homelessness.
The Stober Foundation has pledged $50,000 and has challenged others in the development, real estate, and home-building industry to match them.
Business Finders, a local philanthropist, and a man who faced invisible homelessness as a child are the first to meet the challenge.
Mamas for Mamas is calling upon individuals and groups from the development, real estate and construction sectors to support the campaign and be a part of creating lasting change for families in need.
“The income line is too low for most to be eligible for subsidized housing, and when they are eligible the wait lists can span years,” says Shannon Christensen, founder and CVO, Mamas for Mamas. “They just can’t afford $3,000 a month for housing, and if they can it’s usually not for longer than a month after paying the deposit plus first and last month’s rent.”
This issue is compounded by the lack of accessible shelters and long wait lists for subsidized housing units, leaving families with nowhere to turn for support, according to a Mamas For Mamas news release.
“We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge, and when our most vulnerable neighbours are seen, we all rise,” adds Christensen. “Homelessness is not just an individual or family issue, it is an us issue, a societal issue.”
For more information about the campaign and how you can contribute visit the Mamas For Mamas website.