By Maria Cuomo Cole

Despite tremendous investments  from public and private sectors, more than 60,000 families with children are homeless nationwide this Mother’s Day – more than a quarter of which are here in New York. The number of working homeless, including mothers with children, has grown to 44% across the country – and likely even higher when factoring in unreported employment.

Moms who wake up every morning to prepare their kids for school and get to work on time, return at the end of the day hoping their caseworker has helped identify  an affordable apartment for their family – a scarce commodity in NYC’s booming real estate market. Indeed, during a recent visit to a HELP USA shelter in the Bronx, I was told that more than 50% of residents were employed, yet still unable to afford housing.

The consequences are painful and obvious – an untenable shelter system lacking adequate support services , and the long term traumatic impact of transience for children, uprooted from their schools and communities.

In HELP USA’s 30 years of experience, serving over 400,000 children, women and men, with homeless prevention services, transitional shelter, permanent housing and vital support services, every family that secures housing stability is celebrated.

Stories like that of Sofía, below, underscore the positive outcomes of investment in human potential and opportunity.

“I was working two jobs and doing everything I could as a single mother to make ends meet. I was even sharing a room with my 3- and 6-year-old and renting out the second bedroom in our apartment. Once they left, though, I found myself falling farther and farther behind on rent. No matter how I tried to save, no matter what I did to try to keep my kids safe, secure, and in school, the payments kept piling up. Finally, my worst nightmare arrived in the mail: I was being evicted.

“What could I do? Find a third job? I was barely finding time to sleep, let alone work more and still take care of my family. Luckily, I found out about a homeless prevention program, which helped me pay my rent, find a more sustainable job, and keep my family in stable housing. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise! And best of all, now I finally feel we have a place to call home.”

A Happy Mother’s Day.