By: Sabrina Ahmed
Police say it was disgusting! A woman and her grandson living in a dirty, vacant home. It happened last night. Police found a woman with her 10–year–old grandson in a freezing, filthy room.
She was cited for child neglect and the young boy was turned over to Health and Human Services. This story raises the concern about the homelessness problem in Lincoln.
Between 60 and 80 children sleep at the People's City Mission every night. But LPS estimates 100 kids are sleeping on the streets every night, too.
For the second time since October, police found a woman and her 10 year old grandson sleeping in a vacant Lincoln home. The freezing room was covered in soiled clothing and moldy dishes, with a bucket in the corner used as a toilet.
She was cited for child neglect and trespassing in October, and again this time. The boy was turned over to Health and Human Services.
The woman told police in October that she doesn't like the Mission, but Crystal Mulske, a homeless woman with four children, said the Mission is the best option for moms and kids without anywhere to turn.
"You don't want to have your kids out on the street—if you're a mom, you need to think about them and not about 'oh, I have to deal with rules and we have to go to bed early.' those are things that are far less of a worry that you should be concerned about than the safety and warmth, for and shelter of your kids," Mulske said.
Pastor Tom said there are a lot of stereo types when it comes to the People's City Mission—and it's hard to gain mothers' trust.
"This is very safe—we have 60 to 80 children at one time, we have programs for kids, LPS picks them up every day for school," he said.
"Definitely don't listen to others' opinions until you come and test if yourself," Mulske said.
LPS estimates there are 525 homeless kids in Lincoln, with 100 of them on the streets every night. The fastest growing homeless population in the country is kids.
"We have a lot of homeless kids in Lincoln and it's a tragedy because when you're a kid, that's probably the most vulnerable time in your life to be insecure," Pastor Tom said.
There are a lot of homeless kids out there—and Pastor Tom said the best way for the community to get involved is to volunteer, either here at the Mission or anywhere else that benefits kids.
Being a mentor is the first step to breaking the cycle of homelessness.