Little Rock Shelter Provides Room for Single Dads
October 18, 2012
There are several places open across Arkansas that are waiting to help homeless women and children, but more and more single dads are finding themselves homeless and with virtually no where to turn for help.
But one Little Rock shelter is doing what it can to be the solution to an ever-increasing problem.
Every weekday around 4:30, Aiden Willits gleefully greets his father, Sean.
“You know, I just love him more than I’ve ever loved anything,” Sean says.
That’s a sentiment any parent can identify with, but Sean and Aiden’s living situation is not as common.
“I was staying with a family member and things weren’t working out,” he says.
Sean, a single father, found himself homeless with a 2-year-old.
“It’s hard to find anything, nobody ever wants to help a single dad,” he says through a laugh.
They found their way to Our House, the only shelter in Arkansas able to serve homeless single dads and their children long-term.
“We have seen such an increase in a single, homeless fathers coming here to Our House,” says Our House Executive Director Georgia Mjarten.
Mjarten says Sean and Aiden represent just one of the dozens of similar stories she’s heard over the years from people who have stayed in the one room specifically designated for them.
“We’re all about empowering these dads to be a really good parent, a really strong father to their children,” she says.
The shelter also helps Sean and others save their money with the ultimate goal of getting back out on their own.
“I work 40-50 hours a week,” Sean says. “Once I move into a place, I’ll be able to afford rent and utilities and stuff. It’s just a matter of when you first move in somewhere, it’s $2,000, rent, deposit, electricity; it’s this big sum of money I don’t have.”
In the meantime, Our House provides, food and shelter for both of them, as well as daycare for Aiden, who’s making himself at home.
“He’s doing good. He usually has trouble when we go to a new place getting comfortable to sleep at night, but he’s doing good now,” Sean says.
Our House estimates around 18 people have lived in a room dedicated to single dads and their kids in the two years they’ve had it available.