Homeless children are sick four times more than other children, go without meals twice as much, have high obesity rates because of poor nutrition, and are two times more likely to have learning disabilities. By 12-year-old, 83% of children without homes witness a severe, violent act; over 92% of homeless mothers experience serious physical and/or sexual abuse; 63% of that abuse is by someone they know intimately.
Housing Families, Inc. celebrated 25 years of working to end family homelessness during a Family Affair Gala on November 10th at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. The organization, concerned about the crisis of family homelessness throughout Greater Boston, offers individualized support to enrich and nurture the lives of families. Housing Families provides safe, emergency shelter, permanent and temporary housing, and stabilization and prevention programs.
“We’re here to help homeless families,” says Krystle Kelly, Development Manager at Housing Families. “Help them get on their feet, start new lives, and work toward their goals.”
In 1987, members of the community gathered to provide assistance and shelter for four families; now Housing Families has expanded to serving over 105 families a night.
“We have so many success stories, and Marlain DeJesus is one of them,” says Kelly. “She went through the Children and Family Program. Her family was struggling, and she learned to express her feelings, and do better academically.”
DeJesus is now a mother, a Group Reservations Coordinator at the Sheraton Colonial Hotel, and is working toward receiving an Associate’s Degree in Business from Bunker Hill Community College. She was the honoree for the gala and accepted the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Lieutenant Governor Kerry Murphy Healey, co-honoree for the evening, received the Home at Last Award “for her amazing service to the community and our program, and her endless fight for homeless families at the State House that has really helped us,” says Kelly.
Maria Stephanos, FOX25 News Anchor, emceed the gala of over 550 guests who sponsor and donate to Housing Families attended A Family Affair. They enjoyed gourmet tastings and pairings by celebrity chefs and local restaurants, while Siobhan Magnus, a contestant on American Idol, entertained with her musical performance.
There was a live auction for treats such as a stay in the TD Garden Executive Suite for 12 at the LADY GAGA Born This Way Ball, and a gourmet dinner for up to ten in one’s home prepared by one of Boston’s Hottest Chefs. A whimsical and colorful gingerbread house of a town square was a silent auction item that was a reminder that everyone deserves a home.
“Housing Families isn’t just our name, it’s our mission,” Kelly says proudly. “To house families and put them on a good path.”