While single mothers with children tend to be the most common makeup of family units we see, Bell Family Shelter program coordinator Patricia Graham has been noticing an increase in the number of single fathers with children who are coming in to the 11-bedroom facility on E. Market Street in York. As York County’s only emergency shelter for homeless families that accepts adult males with children in tow, there are many coupled dads and moms with kids who have received services from the Shelter over the years.
Keeping the family unit together during this very challenging time of their lives is important to the family’s well being and to their chances of success, according to Bell’s shelter services director, Marcella Kinard. On more than one occasion she has seen a”tough guy” dissolve into tears once they step into her office and close the door behind them. She understands their pride is stinging; it’s hard to not be the one who fixes things for the family.
But they’ve taken a courageous first step by showing up at our door. Knowing they can lay down their head at night knowing their children are safe and will have food in the morning is a huge relief. Then the work of figuring out the rest will come.
This video features a few dads who have been residents of Bell Family Shelter and/or the Bell Bridge Housing program, along with a father who supports the Shelter with his time and donations because he can’t imagine being separated from his family if they needed help.