A single bag of belongings hang over a bed at the Volunteers of America, where at the men's shelter every bed is filled, in facr they've been over capacity all week. Patrick Patterson of Volunteers of America says “the alarming thing that I'm greatly concerned about is we kind of have an epidemic going on in family homelessness.”
Their Hotel Emergency Lodging Program which primarily helps families has been un-usually busy. It's one of the last resorts for when no other beds are available in the community and compared to this time last year their numbers have jumped by nearly 70 percent.
Patterson says “you don't see growth rates usually like this, this is remarkable.” And alarming, the City Rescue Mission's Women and Children shelter is also full, they've even had to turn some people away.
Susan Cancro of Advent House Ministries says “I have probably not seen a rush like that in a few years, where we got hit this hard.” At the Advent House Ministries where they serve meals for the needy on the weekends, their numbers have increased by 50 to 60 percent in the last two weeks. Cabcro says “we saw new families, children we hadn't seen before, families we hadn't seen before.”
It's a reality that leaves many to question, why, why now? It's something that leaves them searching for answers. Cancro says “I would ask the community to be patient, be generous in what you can and listen to what's happening and we'll solve this. But we have to keep an eye on it and we have to be attentive to it and not let it explode.” Patterson adds “how we solve problems is a large reflection of who we are.”