Of all the stupid things to do to a homeless family in the middle of winter, this is one of the worst:
Tim Lejeune says on one of the coldest nights of the year, despite the organization’s white flag waving outside the shelter, the Salvation Army turned his family away, because his son is 15 years old.
“They said he’s too old to stay on the women’s side, because of the women running around in their pajamas and they said he’s too young to stay on the men’s side in case some pervert wants to do whatever,” Lejeune said.
Lejeune says his wife, their 15 year-old son, 16 year-old daughter and five year-old son, all down on their luck, have been living in their car for the last several weeks.
Lejeune says it was so cold one night earlier this month he took his family to the Salvation Army. Noticing the organization’s white flag blowing in the cold air, generally a symbol that all are welcome due to hazardous weather conditions, he says he expected the organization to welcome them with open arms. Instead, he says the shelter told them there was no way they could stay there with a 15 year-old boy.
Police officers attempted to help the family, yet the shelter still refused. The officers decided to pool their money together to get the family a hotel room. The clerk at the hotel discovered the family’s situation and comped the room. The officers used the money to buy the family groceries.
The Salvation Army offered an explanation for this moronic position:
Salvation Army Captain Michael Cox says the organization has a longtime policy that prohibits boys ages 12 to 16 from staying at the shelter. According to Cox, the policy is in place for safety reasons; ultimately to protect children.
Cox says space limitations at the shelter do not allow the building to house maturing boys. He says that policy has only been an issue once before in the last decade or so. That said, he says the Salvation Army is now revisiting its shelter policy.
It is highly doubtful that this scenario only occurred once in the last decade. There are thousands of homeless families with boys between the ages of 12 to 16. This has happened before. The difference is that it did not make the news.
As for the claim that this is to protect children, how can one protect children by leaving them on the street? Correction: how can one protect boys by leaving them on the street? It is important to remember this policy only applies to boys. Obviously women do not abuse children, so there is no fear that 12 to 16-year-old girls would be abused if placed with adult women. And never mind that the children are there with their families, so the notion that they would be left alone with random adults seems unlikely.
This is the same policy women’s shelters use, yet at least they have reason for that stupidity (misandry). There is no justification for this. The Salvation Army supposedly accepts everyone… except teenage boys. Not because the boys are a threat, but in order to protect the boys from threats. By leaving them on the streets.
There is no need to build a separate house for boys. Most of the boys will be there with family, so they will not be alone and unprotected. It is also ridiculous to assume that a 17-year-old boy is capable of dealing with grown men. The Salvation Army can do better than this.
However, appears that will take some time:
“It was an unfortunate situation altogether, because we did not have the facilities to put that family in place,” Cox said of the situation. “We did offer further assistance and that was denied.”
Yes, of course. According to the article, the reporters were the ones who informed the Salvation Army of the family’s current situation:
In the moments after we first met the family we shared their contact information with the Salvation Army. Monday their car was parked outside the organization. The organization has filled up their gas tank and even let them spend a couple nights at the shelter, but not because of any change of heart.
No, it was likely the media coverage. Yet that matters little. The real travesty is this:
Lejeune says their 15 year-old son is now receiving mental help at an area hospital.
“He ended up having a breakdown and ended up at Woodridge and felt it was all his fault that we were homeless that we couldn’t go anywhere, because of him,” Lejeune said.
While the family awaits the release of their son, they say they are now trying to get their kids enrolled in school and find a permanent housing solution.
Nicely done, Salvation Army. That also explains why they allowed the family to stay in the shelter. The problem–their teenage son–was not there.