Ogden Homeless Shelter Seeing Record Number Of Children
OGDEN, Utah – Staff at the Lantern House in Weber County said the number of children at their facility rose to an all-time high recently, at 88. The numbers continue to remain high.
Coming to the Lantern House is never easy, possibly even more difficult when you’re trying to support a family.
“I had to swallow my pride to do this,” said Kendrick Armstead, a husband and father at the facility. “I’m not a person who likes to take handouts to anyone.”
Armstead and his wife, Rochelle Torrance-Armstead said a shortage of low-income housing, and the price of rent eventually put them out of a home.
“Even with a full-time job, and where we were, we were paying $1,200 a month,” Rochelle said. “Just got to a point where we can’t afford it anymore.”
The couple has been staying at the Lantern house for a few weeks with their 7-year-old son, Amari, and 10-year-old daughter, Jaden.
Unfortunately, their situation isn’t all that unique. The shelter has been recently serving dozens of families, with a total of 67 children staying there overnight Tuesday, and reaching an all-time high of 88 children in late August. The shelter only allows children who are staying there with parents or family members.
“That was huge for us, astronomical to be exact,” Development Director, Lauren Navidomskis said. “We know that there’s an affordable housing shortage around here. Individuals are falling into homelessness unfortunately faster than we can get them out.”
On top of those high numbers, the shelter is also dealing with a shortage in funds. Executive Director, Jay Stretch says circumstances led them to miss out on some grants, and the number of donations has also dropped.
“Cash flow is a major problem for us right now,” Stretch said, adding that the struggle is temporary. “We are going to get through it, one way or another.”
The Armsteads say they’ll overcome their struggles too. They have about 90 days to save money, and look for housing. With the help of case workers, they say they feel confident that times will get better.
“I am a military veteran, and I can tell you I would never see myself in this position,” Kendrick said. “And these people make sure that I don’t have to look down on myself.”