|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
First, they stayed with family. Then, they rented a trailer. Finally, they went to a shelter.
Katrina Stephens, Alan Charles Walker and their three young children became homeless after Walker's construction work dried up.
Now, the family lives in a modest East Dallas apartment as part of Family Gateway's transitional housing program. Stephens plans to finish school to become a medical assistant this spring.
About 80,000 families – typically a single woman with young children – are homeless on any given night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Families are the fastest-growing homeless population, according to Family Gateway and other local agencies.
More than 170,000 families nationwide stayed at shelters or in transitional housing programs in 2009, up 30 percent from 2007, according to HUD. Those families included 300,000 children younger than 18.
Estimates of the number of homeless families vary.
The National Center on Family Homelessness in Needham, Mass., estimates that 1.5 million children experience homelessness in a year. The center includes children who are "doubled up," living with relatives or friends because of economic hardship.
And in Dallas County, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA), which coordinates local homeless programs, found that 1,275 people in 422 families were homeless on the night of its annual census in 2010.