As many of you are aware, ASI's Boston office has supported Horizons for Homeless Children since 2016. Horizons serves 175 children and families each day, close to 300 families over the course of a year, across their three education centers in Boston. In additon, Horizons operates over 100 Playspaces in shelters across MA.
During this very difficult time, the families and children Horizons serves are experiencing unprecedented needs - families experiencing homelessness are being hit hardest because they have few resources to withstand the disruptions to daily life caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The average annual income for a family at Horizons is $14,842. All of Horizons' programs have been suspended in efforts to protect the families and Horizons staff, leaving many families with the additional burden of providing necessities for their children which are typically provided at Horizons’ centers.
Horizons for Homeless Children is responding to the needs of families in the following ways:
- Providing gift cards to families so they can buy food while in shelter. Horizons typically provides breakfast, lunch and snacks to the children in their centers so it’s imperative that they ensure they continue to have access to food.
- Helping families purchase diapers and other necessities that they can no longer afford if they lose their jobs.
- Horizons' team of Family Advocates are connecting with families daily to identify their needs and share trustworthy sources of assistance while serving as a confidante and advisor for their family’s decision making.
- Keeping Playspaces in more than 90 shelters open and stocked with toys and cleaning supplies so children living in shelter have access to a safe place to play.
All of us are facing the stresses and uncertainty of adjusting to these challenging times, but none more than families living in shelter. They need us now, more than ever.