The Carpenter's Place Sees Increase in Women

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- With the weather getting colder, you can't help but think of those without homes who are forced to sleep outside and go to shelters. One local non-profit is seeing a group of women it serves, nearly double.

“No matter where you go, you can't escape homelessness, you have to worry about being on your own,” says one Carpenter’s Place client, named Carol.

Carol knows that first hand because she was homeless. “I had a place off the railroad tracks that I had a campground that I called my own with some other homeless friends." That's why Carol says she's thankful she found the Carpenter's Place.

She's not the only one. The shelter is seeing an increase in women, especially younger women.

"Over the last five years, Carpenter's Place has seen a 95% increase in women ages 18 to 35-years-old.”

The Executive Director of Carpenter's Place says a poor economy and unemployment are the reasons. She says more experienced workers are taking entry level jobs away from younger workers and younger women can no longer rely on their parents who are also now struggling. "I was sleeping outside, I was in the cold," said Tammy.

Tammy is another woman who gets help from Carpenter's Place. "They help you with food. They help you with personals. Just about anything you want, all you have to do is ask for it."

Yet, no matter how bad it gets, both women feel thankful.

"I’m blessed to have people out there in the world to help me,” said Tammy.

There's also a lot of kids in the Rockford area that need help.. About 850 students in district 205 are considered homeless. The Winnebago County FEMA location is currently taking funding requests from local agencies that help provide emergency food, shelter or utility services. This year, the grant was cut by 13 percent to about $176,000.

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