Thursday, June 13, 2024

Funding needed to help shelter families

girl_hugging_eyes_closedWhat would you do if you didn’t have a safe, warm place for you and your children to sleep tonight?

As night comes earlier and temperatures drop, more and more families right here in Denton County are finding themselves in that exact situation.

BedTime Rescue is answering the call to provide temporary, emergency housing for families in crisis. When a family calls, they are placed in a hotel for anywhere from one night to a week. This is usually all that is takes to give the family respite from their current situation and the opportunity to make a plan.

BedTime Rescue is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization formed under the umbrella of Flower Mound-based Cloud 9 Charities in December 2012.

Cloud 9 Charities founder Kim Cloud saw a 60 Minutes television program describing the number of homeless children in our nation that attend school and need assistance. She began researching and soon discovered that there are hundreds of homeless children registered in the Lewisville Independent School District alone.

“There are several great organizations that provide shelter for the homeless in Denton County, but these shelters typically provide housing for a long term homeless individual,” said Cloud, “and most of our BedTime Rescue families do not identify with this… their situation is temporary.”

The other important reason BedTime Rescue families do not want to utilize shelters is that most of these shelters separate families. They are either just for women and children or just for men.

Most families find their way to BedTime Rescue through the school system and the organization most tightly connected to schools, Communities in Schools of North Texas (CISNT). When a child reports to a school official that they have nowhere to stay, CISNT steps in and makes the call to BedTime Rescue.

“These families need to know that they will be safe and they will be taken care of,” said Ann Pape, Chief Executive Officer for CISNT. “We know that BedTime Rescue is going to be there for these families and we assure our clients of this.”

The situations differ with each family. Often the families live paycheck to paycheck and something has happened to cause them to lose one paycheck and/or lose their housing.  In this case they just need a week to get back on their feet, but without that week their situation can grow increasingly worse until they are more permanently on the streets.

Ann Pape tells the story of one family who “had a bid on a mobile home and thought they had it, but they got outbid. They had nowhere to go for a couple days. By giving them a week to catch their breath in a safe place, their children remained in school, they were able to collect another paycheck, and make another bid on a different mobile home. For just the cost of one week’s hotel their whole life was changed. That is what BedTime Rescue can do.”

In some cases, domestic abuse reaches an intolerable level and with a moment’s notice a mother and her children need an immediate place to stay for a night or two, until more permanent arrangements can be made.

As of January 2016, the BedTime Rescue program has housed Denton County families for over 400 nights and raised over $18,000 from grants and private donations.

“We feel there is far more need in the County”, said Cloud “but until now the BedTime Rescue awareness hasn’t been there.”

That is currently changing. In the last few weeks, BedTime Rescue has seen an increase in calls every week. So much so, that there is now a great need for funding. “This is where the community can help. It only takes $240 to not only house a family for a week, but truly change the direction of their lives.”

Cloud makes this appeal, along with Pape, and many others who work every day to rid our community of homelessness and barriers to healthy, happy living.

State Representative Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), who has successfully passed legislation related to homelessness, is a passionate supporter of community involvement. 

“BedTime Rescue serves a critical need in our community and is an excellent collaborative partner with our front line agencies such as CISNT and local school districts,” said Parker. “I cannot think of a more fulfilling way for people to serve our community than to assist a family in crisis by providing emergency housing.”

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CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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