The Changing Face of Homelessness: Middle Class America - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

The Changing Face of Homelessness: Middle Class America

by Kristen Guilfoos
Newschannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The face of homelessness is changing- It's no longer just the stereotypical single man. Local shelters are filling up with middle class families.

In most cases, that means hardworking families who are being forced to walk through shelter doors by the current financial crisis.

Melinda Gilbert never imagined her family would be calling this home,room number five at Faith City Ministries Shelter in Amarillo.

"We've been here, it will be a month on Thursday. It's not easy being here." But they're trying to make the best of it.

"We go to the library. The kids use their library cards. We try to do other things when we're able to. And if not, we go for a walk."

Anything to take their mind of the fact that they are among the new face of America's homeless. Faith City Executive Director Jena Taylor says, they are "Good families, good families."

Good families who suddenly find themselves without a steady paycheck.

Families like Cynthia Booker and her three grandchildren, who checked into the shelter last week.

Her grandson Arterious says there are "a whole lot of other kids to play with." Nineteen of them to be exact,and 22 moms, and two dads-more than ever before. As you can imagine, feeding all of those people isn't cheap.

Taylor says, "Our budget for food a month is $8500." Donations are down, but Faith City employees are doing whatever it takes to make sure these families don't go hungry... Even if that means sweating it out on days like Monday, where temperatures flirted with 100.

"In the summer we turn half our lights off and we raise the temperature to 78," Taylor explains. Both Cynthia and Melinda say they will be forever grateful, and hope someday soon they can have a place to call their own.

Cynthia says, "For 30 days I'll stay here and then I'll have my own place." Gilbert isn't giving up. She says, "I know that God is going to open that door."

Powered by Frankly