Families in Homelessness Struggle to Stay Together

When families have a safe home, they can spend more time staying together rather than apart.

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Guadalupe sends her 11-year-old daughter Alison off to her mother-in-law's because the area is too dangerous.

Alison lives in El Salvador and seems like any 11-year-old girl you’d meet. She’s in the 5th grade, loves to skateboard, and dreams of becoming a veterinarian someday. Turtles and hamsters are her favorite.

What you wouldn’t suspect is Alison and her mom don’t have a safe place to call home. Alison’s mom, Guadalupe, lives on a crumbling hill near Nuevo Cuscatlan, El Salvador. She lives in a makeshift shack of sticks and galvanized metal covered in holes.

“Here, there’s no security. We’ve had many challenges as a family as thieves take our things. We don’t have locks on our doors. We have a lot of dripping and flooding after the rains too. We also have a lot of issues with wild animals; we often find snakes inside our house.” — Guadalupe

We’re in the process of building a new home for Guadalupe and Alison, but for now, they live apart so Alison can stay as safe as possible. The story of Guadalupe and Alison is far too common. Even in the U.S., 41% of all homeless men have children under age 18, but only 7% live with at least one of their children. Many shelters don’t allow men, forcing families to split when they become homeless and seek help.

Families experiencing homelessness make impossible decisions every day between competing needs.

For instance, children worldwide spend 200 million hours every day collecting water. That’s 200 million hours children, often young girls, can’t spend at school or with their families. It’s also 200 million hours making children more vulnerable to threats such as trafficking.

Alison’s family has to walk three miles to collect water. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between water or education for their children.

When families have a safe home, they can spend more time staying together rather than apart.

A stable home also empowers parents to create a structured work schedule and source of income. We’ve seen communities increase their income by more than 60% once moving into their new homes. Many families use their space as a foundation to launch their businesses. As many parents have experienced in the past two years, the privilege to work from home allows us to be closer with those we love most.

Soon, Guadalupe and Silvia can live together safely under the same roof again.

They will have doors to lock and a roof to keep the rain outside their house.

“I feel so grateful for this new home and looking forward to feeling more secure.” — Guadalupe

She has a small garden near her current shack and she built a small seed bank for the day she can move into her new home. Guadalupe hopes to grow her garden alongside her daughter Silvia and see the harvest of home flourish for generations to come.

New Story has provided 275 families with safe housing in El Salvador as of December 2021. Guadalupe and Silvia are amongst the families that will benefit from 200 new homes that are expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.

Help fund a housing project.

100% of your donation goes directly to building a home for a family like Guadalupe’s.