Rachel Maxwell - Rethinking Family Homelessness

 

Undergraduate student Rachel Maxwell shares about her practicum experience at Positive Tomorrows and the creation of her website, Rethinking Family Homelessness, developed through an independent study. She starts the MSW program with us this summer.

Over the past year, I have had the privilege of having my practicum at Positive Tomorrows, a private school devoted to addressing the issue of homelessness. Positive Tomorrows is a non-profit organization that provides a tuition-free education to children (K-5th) who are homeless. Each family has a case manager who works as an advocate for the family. The case manager partners with the families to help them meet the goals they seek to achieve. Furthermore, the case managers help them navigate the many barriers and obstacles they face when seeking housing, employment, and transportation.

Since I began my practicum at Positive Tomorrows, I have had a paradigm shift in my perspective of what it means to be homeless. I have realized that there are many contributing factors to the issue of homelessness and that it cannot merely be seen through one lens. Many of the families at Positive Tomorrows have been affected by domestic violence or a lack of support system to help them through hard times. There is much more to homelessness than simply “poor life choices”. When I began to meet the parents and children at Positive Tomorrows, I could see myself in each one of them. As I spent more time getting to know the children and families, the stereotypes I had of the homeless began to break down, piece by piece. I am honored to have been blessed with the opportunity to develop a passion for the beautiful families at Positive Tomorrows. Each family has much more to be known for than just their present situation of homelessness. Through the creation of this website, I hope to bring a new perspective to the face of family homelessness that was imparted to me when I began my practicum at Positive Tomorrows.

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