Because of their make-up (ie. husband/wife, older boys), many of these families would not have been accepted in other facilities in the city. Many traditional homeless shelters only accept residents of a single sex. Even if a family can find shelter for all its members, it means that mothers cannot stay with their older sons; fathers must leave their daughters; husbands are separated from wives. How can a family begin to address the dilemmas that face them when they are not allowed to plan and stay together?
The Dorothy Day House keeps homeless families together, creating a safe haven and a community for entire families. This is part of the Dorothy Day tradition. At our house, people in conditions of common hardship bond together to mutually support and encourage one another as they face and overcome their shared obstacles of poverty and homelessness. Family members work together to clean and maintain the house and to cook meals. Residents often provide childcare for one another to enable individuals to search for work and to attend job interviews. This home-like atmosphere fosters self-esteem and uplifts the human spirit. It creates one of the most vital ingredients for escaping poverty—hope.