Homeless shelters deny some families
WILMINGTON - January 8, 2010 (WPVI) -- It can be very difficult for homeless women to find shelter with their children in the winter.. or anytime for that matter.
But it's nearly impossible for some moms in Delaware because of a policy that aims to keep teenage boys out.
Thirty-year-old Aneesha Jones does not know where she and her 15 year old son will sleep tonight. They are homeless. And Wilmington area shelters tell her they don't accept boys who are older than 13.WILMINGTON, Del. - January 8, 2010
"Because they had a discrepancy a while back with male children in shelters who fondled or molested other children in shelters," Aneesha Jones told Action News.
Many local shelters acknowledge they do not accept the older male children. Some tell Action News the policy protects younger children from the teens and protects the adolescent boys from adult women and men. Some women's shelters contend they don't have separate bathrooms for older boys staying with their mothers.
The policy leaves families like Lashonda Smith and her 15-year-old son, a 9th grader at a local high school, out in the cold scrounging for shelter. "Me and my son slept in an abandoned apartment with no heat, no water, nothing for the last three days," Smith said.
Smith became homeless after a series of heart attacks rendered her unable to work.
Jones' apartment building was declared a nuisance by the city.
Both have applied to the one Wilmington program that accepts older male teens, but it has a waiting list. Both hope to qualify for a once-a-year state funded 90-day hotel voucher.
In the meantime they like Tara Myers, refuse to send their sons somewhere without them.
"They're still children," Myers said. "Over 13, that makes them a man? It's discrimination to me."
Federal regulations are changing so that starting next year, shelters that accept federal funding cannot deny admission to families based on the age of their children.
delaware, wilmington, homeless, local/state, denise james
- Kutztown coach accused of covering up teen's rape
- Clouds, some sun, mild today
- WATCH: Action News Online
- 2013 Troop Greetings
- 911 calls from Newtown, CT shooting released
- Walker autopsy complete; 'Fast & Furious 7' halted
- Photos: Paul Walker: Pictures of crash scene, vigil
- Suspect in killing of fmr. Marine surrenders
- Attack in Center City caught on camera 31 min ago
- Police: Threat to father used in local scam
- Hunting Park standoff ends with surrender
- Ocean County police to carry heroin antidote
- Sophia, Jackson most popular baby names of 2013
- Photos: Open House: Pat Croce's $7.95M mansion