Being on a road trip focusing on homeless youth it was important to tell the story of the homelessness you don't see - the millions of American families living in weekly rate hotels just barley one step from street homelessness. In fact, when I met this wonderful family today, they were packing up to leave and live in their car. The hotel had given them one day's grace, but they were completely out of money with no place to go. I am still emotional thinking about it even hours later. Truth is, thousands upon thousands of families face being evicted from a hotel to the streets every single day! This family was lucky. I tweet out what I call a "Hail Mary" and a generous heart stepped up and donated a weeks stay. That too messed me up!
Michael, Danielle, and their six children live in one hotel room near St Louis. Michael works a full time job, and they used to rent a house, but their landlord didn't pay the mortgage. After the bank took the property back, Michael, Danielle, and their six children were evicted with no place to go.
It's not easy to smile, but especially for the younger ones, you don't have a choice because they don't understand it's not their fault ~ Danielle
Hotel homelessness becomes a trap. Hotel's cost more than an apartment, but you can move right in without deposit, and a hotel room is far better than the streets. Once in, people who are considered the working poor, have an impossible time trying to save up enough money to afford adequate housing. Often these hotels are not a good place for kids to grow up.
There is a lot of emotion in this video. I get messed up throughout, but when the parents start talking about having to run in to the bathroom to cry so the kids don't see - I'm done! I am pissed that families have to live like this and heartbroken because I can literally feel their pain. I don't speak about this much, but I was raised by my mother and we went through some hard years when I was young.
With the economy the way it nowadays, a lot of people are losing their homes, and making $30 an hour and just can't make ends meet with children. You don't want to be here, but you've got a roof over your head. As my daddy always said, home is what you make it ~ Michael
If I could get you to watch just one video all the way to the end, and then share, this would be that video. This family is filled with strength and love, and has the courage to share their very real story about the homeless you don't see, but need to see!
Special thanks to Paul Kruse, who helps these families every single day of the yearThis Invisible People road trip is made possible by Sevenly and Virgin Mobile USA, who are partnering to end youth homelessness through Virgin Mobile USA's initiative, RE*Generation. For more information please click here.