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The Faces of Homelessness — Single Mothers


For single-parent families, an illness, job loss, or loss of childcare can push them over the edge. Single mothers, with their unwavering strength, juggle the demands of parenthood and poverty, striving to provide normalcy for their children. This month, we focus on The Faces of Homelessness—Single Mothers. 

In the United States, single-parent families are no longer a rarity. Over 23 million children — one in every three — live in such families, with 14.3 million children in mother-only households. Nearly 30% of these families live below the federal poverty line. In Michigan alone, 34% of children live in single-parent families. These staggering statistics represent real people facing tough financial and social challenges.

Meet Shawntila, a 39-year-old single mother of three staying at MRM’s Women’s & Family Shelter. After ending an eleven-year relationship, she moved in with her mother, but the temporary arrangement turned into a three-year stay. When their relationship reached a tipping point in January, she came to Muskegon Rescue Mission with her children, ages 13, 11, and 6. This is her first time in shelter, and they are all adjusting to life in a community setting with a curfew and rules.

Diagnosed with heart failure in 2019, Shawntila had a device implanted to regulate her heart. It needs replacing, but surgery is delayed until she has a stable, permanent residence. Dealing with serious health issues and being unable to work, she struggles to make ends meet on her Social Security disability income. While at the shelter, her primary focus has been to save money and find a safe place for her family to live. She states, “I’ve put my faith in God and try not to let it stress me too much. I know He has a plan for us. I am anxious to get back on my feet and my family settled. It has been tough on my kids.” 

“There are so many people in our community who are struggling. I’m grateful to the donors who support the Mission. I hope they know how much they help!” Shawntila hopes her children have learned from this experience that “kindness and love are powerful things, and being nice can change lives!”

Shawntila’s story speaks to the strength and resilience of homeless single mothers. These women face immense challenges daily, often with limited resources and support. Their journeys highlight a significant issue in our community that demands attention and action to create a brighter future for struggling families. 

We can make a significant difference for single mothers in our community through kindness, compassion, and tangible assistance. —  Donate Today!

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