WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF)- A mother is someone who loves you wherever you are in life and this the philosophy that cousins Lynn and Susan adopted in their inspiration for starting Street Moms, a community outreach initiative designed to meet the needs of the homeless.
7News spoke with the founders who hand-deliver items and a personal connection to those without a home every day.
People living on the street are sometimes invisible among us, overlooked and lacking both physical and emotional needs. From prostitution, incarceration, job loss, or addiction- homelessness has many faces. And sometimes those with nothing just need a human touch.
It may be difficult to imagine, but often the line between you and homelessness is smaller than you think. Founder, Susan Brossman, said “we have a lot of people who are working jobs who are homeless. Founder Lynn Kettler told 7News “mostly you think drug addiction but there’s much more than that there’s mental illness there is a lot of alcoholism there’s a lot of drug addiction but there are also people that are just down on their luck and some people choose to be homeless we have ones that choose to be there.”
It is a sad and harsh reality, but with the presence of Street Moms in Wheeling, necessities are brought directly to those without a home.
Brossman added, “You build a relationship with people and you see their value and you see their worth and you see their talents you can look way beyond the flaws that they might have or the addictions they might have.”
Wheeling, a microcosm of this societal problem, has over 200 people living on the streets and Street Moms has impacted almost all of them. Perhaps one would believe this is enabling, but in reality, it is just a way to help an inevitability.
Brossman continued with “We don’t want to be those people that promise them something and you know we don’t follow through because a lot of them have broken relationships or very few relationships so we want to be those people they can count on that they know we love them.”
There are pregnant and sick amongst the homeless. And now, since the Salvation Army is only open to men, there is an even greater need.
Street Moms bring anything from medicine to tents; helps with drug rehabilitation, housing, and even cleans up campsites. The cousin-founders have never once felt that their lives were in danger while doing this, and
Brossman said: “There’s never been a single time and I’m getting chill bumps even saying this that people have not been respectful to us.”
Since shelters are usually at full capacity, a mobile laundry and bathroom unit is a goal that they hope to make a reality. Street Moms believes this will help the homeless pursue jobs, relationships, and make them feel better about themselves.
Brossman concluded with “they are harder on themselves than you will ever be on them or that we will ever be on them and that’s why we feel fortunate to call them our friends and just love them because that’s what they need the most.”
Street Moms has been doing this 24/7 for about one year now. All donations come solely from the community. Street Moms graciously accepts donations through their Facebook Page. That’s where they list items and more information to help.