Dallas Non-Profit Says Number of Homeless Families Grows Amid Pandemic

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In times of crisis - it's easy to imagine life like a game of dominos, building brick by brick, day after day, until one wrong move… sends us tumbling back to square one.

"Anything can happen to anybody, any given second,” said Candanice Williamson.

For Williamson, that moment came Jan. 1, 2020 when the single mom of three was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma.

"It was boom, you've got cancer. Boom, stop going to school. Boom, stop working. After you stop working, boom, you lose your place,” said Williamson.

That’s when Williamson said she and her boys ended up in an extended stay motel.

"I had lost my home. I had lost my belongings. I lost everything. I had to start all over from scratch,” said Williamson.

But thanks to Dallas non-profit Rainbow Days, she didn’t have to do it alone.

The non-profit’s Family Connection program, specializing in providing support for homeless families, stepped in to make sure Williamson’s boys had everything they needed.

“Our mission is to help children living in adversity build up their coping skills, resiliency and help them to create a promising future,” said Director of Family Connection Kelly Wierzbinski.

That meant everything from providing care for the boys to toiletries to laptops and Wi-Fi to make sure they could participate in remote schooling.

It also meant making sure the entire family was fed.

Feeding America now estimates food insecurity is felt by one in six Americans.

It’s a need that’s only grown amid the pandemic.

"Without food, the most basic element, these children cannot learn or function. The need continued to grow. In fact, it's doubled since we started the program,” said Wierzbinski.

She said it will triple when they add more families to the program next week.

And though they may not be reaching all who need help, for those they have, there’s hope.

"I am very grateful, very, very grateful for them,” said Williamson.

Monday, Williamson celebrated the end of cancer treatment. And recently, she signed a lease on a new apartment.

She said it’s too soon to say they’ve reached the other side of the challenges the past year threw their way, but she’s optimistic they will eventually.

Family Connection estimates there are more than 2,000 children homeless in Dallas.

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