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Shelter from the cold

Shelter from the cold

I just want to be with my dad.

Each year over 200 homeless and runaway youth come through the doors of the Sasha Bruce House, many fleeing abusive situations in their homes. But we don’t stop with emergency respite, our goal is to reunite and strengthen families.

The winter is a particularly brutal time for families living on the streets. And the District of Columbia’s adult shelter system is not a safe place for young people. This bleak situation was painfully manifest in the case of “Tiffany”, a 17-year old girl who came to our Sasha Bruce House with her father in early December.

According to Tiffany, she and her mother had a “strained” relationship, and she said to us on a cold night in early December: “I just want to be with my dad.” Indeed, Tiffany and her father showed up unannounced one cold night at the Sasha Bruce House with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

Our staff are nothing if not compassionate…and resourceful. Our counselor offered Tiffany a bed, and we immediately transported her father to one of the District’s adult shelters. The next day, we brought them back together at the Sasha Bruce House and began family-focused counseling to help them chart a course for self-sufficiency and so that father and daughter could remain together.

Tiffany stayed at our shelter for about a month. And her father remained a regular participant in family counseling sessions at the shelter, while our case management staff brokered housing and job opportunities for him.

We were successful in helping the father attain stable housing, and Tiffany moved in with him just a week ago. As the historic cold weather dropped into the region, our case manager contacted Tiffany to see how things were going. The good news is that Tiffany and her father retained their housing over this wicked cold spot, and she was in great spirits. Truly, a tragedy narrowly averted. We’ll continue to work with father and daughter to ensure continued progress.

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