Woman Pregnant with Twins Not Welcome at Shelter, Thankfully Strangers Step In


For many homeless people, local shelters can provide a safe place to stay. These havens are greatly needed, especially in the cold winter months.

It is a harsh reality that many of these shelters can become full, leaving the homeless out on the streets. For one man, his pregnant fiancee, and their young child, being turned away from a shelter involved more than full beds.

Robert Clark and his fiancee Jaquita Wilson, who was pregnant with twins, left Indiana after Clark could not pay their rent. The family had no place to go and so came to Northern Kentucky. After Clark lost his job there, the family became homeless.

The Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky was recommended to Clark as a shelter for the family. But when they arrived, Clark, Wilson, and their child were turned away.

It turned out that the shelter did not take occupants under the age of 18. Clark was devastated and neither he nor Wilson knew what to do next.

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“It’s a liability,” said Executive Director Kim Webb. “It’s a safety issue. It’s understanding the population we are designed to serve is facing active addiction or adults with mental health crisis.” She felt terrible about the situation.

For Clark and his family this wasn’t the first time they had met opposition. They had been turned away from other shelters in the past.

Webb wanted to help Clark even though she knew that it was impossible to admit them to her shelter. A staff member got on the phone and began contacting other shelters in the area.

They contacted the Central Access Point hotline, a service that connects people with shelter services, but the office was closed. After 30 minutes of trying, Clark and his family still had nowhere to go.

“12 months out of the year in Northern Kentucky there’s really not emergency, door-to-door sheltering for families,” said Webb. It is a big gap in the system and something that needs to be addressed.

This particular night, the Clark family was fortunate to be noticed by someone who could help. While taking short-term refuge in a restaurant, a stranger saw them and made a phone call of their own.

Maslow’s Army to the rescue! Maslow’s Army is a small organization that helps those experiencing homelessness. The group was able to raise enough money to secure a hotel room for the family for several days.

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With a roof over their heads and other needed supplies, including baby formula, Clark and his family were off of the streets. But Clark was disheartened.

With shelters either full or only taking adults, the gap is in family shelters. Clark didn’t want to see his family divided in order to have a safe place to stay.

Webb said that they are trying to find solutions in order to fix the gap. “We are looking to have support from additional counties outside of Kenton County,” she said. “That is a challenge.”

For now Clark and his family are safe. With the help of a group of strangers, Maslow’s Army, the family can breathe a little easier and stay a little warmer.

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