"I'm Doing Everything I Can," Homeless Family Fighting to Get Off the Streets

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

A new report shows one in 50 children in the U.S. are homeless
and one local family is talking to 11 News about their life on the streets.

The National Center on Family Homelessness released a report Tuesday showing there are 1.5 million children without homes across the country.

The report ranks Colorado as the 15th worst overall and scored the state as inadequate for state and policy planning.

Catholic Outreach tells me they don't have an exact number of how many children may be homeless in Mesa County but according to a program with School District 51 it's atleast 400.

Volunteers with Catholic Outreach say you may never see them or know they're homeless--staying in hotels, with friends or even in a car with, and sometimes without their parents.

Little Tacoma is thinking about which toy he's going to play with next but his parents are thinking about where they're going to stay tonight.

"We're trying to figure out whether or not we're going to be able to have the kids in a warm place for a night," Michael McCommon told 11 News on Tuesday.

He says he and his wife were working at a truck stop 50 to 60 hours a week until their car brokedown, they had to call in and they were fired.

"I'm doing everything I can to make ends meet," said McCommon.

But living paycheck to paycheck, it was one paycheck too few and now Michael, his wife and two kids are homeless.

"It's just getting really hard."

The family was at the Catholic Outreach soup kitchen, one place they know they can get a good meal.

They are just one of many families reaching out for help. Housing Director Beverly Lampley says it's a sad fact, more and more people are losing their jobs and their homes.

"We see the faces. We know the names. We know the people and a little bit of your heart breaks everytime," Lampley told 11 News on Tuesday.

She says there are several organizations who knew long before the National Center on Family Homelessness released its report. She says they've been working everyday to make sure that no child goes without a roof over their head but as the economy worsens, she says the task becomes more daunting.

"This is really sad and it's gonna get worse here and I'm not sure we know exactly how to fix it, but we're going to try," said Lampley.

But even one meal means the world to the McCommon's--one less lunch to worry about.

The family will be staying at the homeless shelter while Michael looks for jobs.

"I've got to be able to find some way of getting our situation to be able to be better," McCommon told 11 News.

So he doesn't have to wonder whether or not his children will have a warm place to stay the night.

Catholic Outreach says there are a lot of families like the McCommon's who are one paycheck away from homelessness but because the need is up, its grant money is almost all gone for its eviction program.

Officials there are depending on cash donations to help families through the rest of the month, until they get new grant money in April.

To donate to the Catholic Outreach or to check out the full report yb the The National Center on Family Homelessness, click on the links below.

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