Each year at HumanKind, we serve more than 7,000 children through our shelters, permanent supportive housing, and Operation Holiday. We know that parenting is hard for the most privileged among us, and we see first-hand how much more challenging it can be for our families experiencing homelessness.
As Father’s Day approaches, we would like to take the time to recognize houseless fathers who continue to fight and persevere through the challenging task of raising children without a home.
Wesley, a determined father and resident at The Inn—our year-round shelter for individuals, families and their pets—became homeless along with his twin toddler boys during the pandemic. Almost every day, they would move from hotel to hotel fighting to keep a roof over their head. During this time, Wesley was working to balance providing for his family and finding trustworthy childcare. When he could no longer make ends meet, Wesley began seeking shelter but did not qualify for many services due to circumstances out of his control. Wesley was down to his last dime when a friend introduced him to HumanKind. We sat down with Wesley to learn about how being homeless has impacted his experience of raising twin boys.
HK: How has experiencing homelessness impacted fatherhood for you?
Wesley: Being homeless is new for me. As hard as it is, it’s helped me realize to appreciate life because you never know when it could be taken from you.
HK: What do you enjoy most about being a father?
Wesley: Waking up and seeing my kids every morning. They are so peaceful and quiet (though they’re cranky just like when they first wake up!) And just seeing them happy—it reminds me that I must be doing an OK job. They’re the reason I became a stronger and better man.
HK: How has HumanKind helped your family?
Wesley: Coming to HumanKind most definitely changed my life. There are so many people ready and willing to help with everything from giving us warm meals to applying for housing. Just being there to support me and my boys is huge.
HK: If you had one piece of fatherly advice, what would that be?
Wesley: Be there as much as possible. Every moment, minute, second, hour—all of it counts.
HK: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Wesley: I love to cook, that’s my passion. People tell me all the time I need to open my own restaurant and I tell them it’s going to take some time, but I’m getting there!
Since arriving at The Inn, Wesley has worked hard with case managers to address the barriers he and his kids are facing. He has applied for permanent housing and other services to get him and his family set up for a bright future, and he is employed in a local restaurant known for its amazing food. For Welsey, it is more than just a job, it’s a step closer to achieving his dream: “I want to open my own restaurant.”
Stories like Wesley’s are made possible because of the support of the incredible Wichita community. We are so excited about what the future holds for Wesley and his boys and are so grateful to him for sharing his experience. Please join us in congratulating them on the start of an exciting new chapter!