Orlando, FL (PRWEB) June 19, 2012
On July 1, a collaborative advocacy campaign called Forgotten Face, led by Community Food & Outreach Center in Orlando, Florida will begin to raise awareness for families who have become the new face of homelessness across the nation. The goal of this campaign is to hold discussions and inform communities about the new, hidden story of homelessness: families who are in desperate need of our help.
Across this nation, families find themselves struggling in poverty and unable to sustain themselves in record numbers. The sad truth is that millions of families in this country have no option left but to live day to day in their cars, or worse yet find themselves living in camps in the woods or on the streets of our cities... many times this even includes their children. Homeless service providers see them every day — families just like yours and mine who are not looking for a lifetime of handouts, but need a hand up during their darkest hour.
“The face of homelessness in America has traditionally been seen as the man under the bridge, with the long beard holding a ‘will work for food’ sign. Although the plight of the chronically homeless, many of which are veterans, is heartbreaking, and is very important to address, focusing only on this segment of the homeless issue tells a limited story of the problem facing our communities,” said Forgotten Face creator Andrae Bailey. Bailey has been a homeless advocate for more than 15 years in Florida.
The campaign will focus on the fact that the chronically homelessness represent only a small portion of those facing homelessness on the streets of America every day. “The new, hidden faces of homelessness in this country are the millions of families, who have been hurt by the recession of 2008, and now, for the first time in their lives, struggle to keep food on their tables and roofs over their heads. Families who are unemployed and underemployed, senior citizens and young adults struggling to earn a living wage,” said Bailey, who also serves as the executive director of the Community Food & Outreach Center, which currently serves over 400 families per day in his hometown of Orlando, FL.
One of the families the campaign will feature is the Raynor Family. The Raynor family moved to Central Florida looking for a second chance during the toughest economic circumstances of their lives. Unfortunately for them, our community did not offer them or their children the economic opportunity they were hoping for.
The family ultimately wound up in a desperate situation and needed the intervention of a local homeless program to stay off the streets. Thirteen-year-old Destiny Raynor was a panel member at the recent Forum on Homelessness and recounted her families pain. “The stress this situation put on my family, and the depression that set in because we were suddenly faced with homelessness for the first time was unimaginable,” said thirteen-year-old Raynor. This family is not an anomaly…this is the new normal of homelessness in our community.
“When only one segment of those facing homelessness are focused on, then solutions and support for all who are fighting homelessness suffer,” said Scott George, Co-Founder of Community Food & Outreach Center, and Forgotten Face Campaign advocate. “Leaders and advocates need to work on changing from stereotypes to frank talk.”
The campaign will tell stories of real families who are suffering with hunger, poverty and homelessness, told by them in their own words. “The full story of homelessness in our country in 2012 is the story of good people who can be helped, who can get back on their feet, who are victims of worst economy we have seen in decades; people who simply need us to hear their cries and be their lifeline as they walk through their darkest hour,” said Andrae Bailey.
Hear from real families who are struggling and find out how you can help, by visiting http://www.forgottenface.org.