Why am I Sleeping Out on April 29?
Seeing homeless youth on the streets or without a home just breaks my heart. Prior to Covenant House, I did in-home parenting workshops for The New York Foundling Hospital. My caseload consisted of young moms who had a mental health diagnoses, experienced domestic violence or had a substance abuse problem and had an infant in the home.
Most of mothers I visited were actually homeless. They couched surfed from one friend or family member’s couch to another. Their infants didn’t have cribs. Their babies would sleep next to them on the couch. Even with the parenting workshops and lectures on how dangerous it was to have an infant sleep with you, there was not much I could do. My agency could purchase a crib or bassinet, but the young moms never knew where they would be living from day to day.
Luckily, there was Covenant House. I heard about Covenant House and the great work they were doing with homeless kids. I referred several of the mothers on my caseload to the program. While many sought help from Covenant House, others didn’t. They were content with their living situation.
During a visit with one the mothers, I was given the sad news that her infant child had died of accidental death. The crazy thing was that I just did a workshop on SIDS and accidental death two weeks prior. The young mother left her daughter sleeping on her friend’s bed that had a pile of clothing on it, and the baby was smothered by the clothing items. No mother should have to bear the loss of a child, especially when it could have been prevented. I’m sleeping out because I don’t want to see another senseless loss of life. All Young people should have a home, and mothers should have a safe haven for their babies.