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Youth Leader Speaks Out for Unhoused Mothers in New Documentary Series

Kimberly_Medium Kimberly, a member of The Night Ministry’s Youth 4 Truth program, is the subject of a documentary now streaming at wttw.com/firsthand. Photo by Lloyd DeGrane for WTTW.

Last fall, Kimberly opened her life up to a video crew from WTTW, Chicago's PBS station, for a documentary series about homelessness told through the lives of those who are experiencing it.

She is well poised to do so. As a member of Youth 4 Truth, The Night Ministry's leadership program for young people, Kimberly has a passion for advocacy and is willing to speak out about her experiences as an unhoused young mother. She learned about the series, called FIRSTHAND: Homeless, when the documentary producer visited a Youth 4 Truth meeting.

"When the FIRSTHAND crew said that there was an opportunity to talk about homelessness and bring more awareness, I knew that I had to tell them how hard it is being a single mother, homeless, and living in shelters," she explained. "And I wanted to speak for their kids too. When they're out on the streets, they're so much more vulnerable."

Kimberly lost her housing after becoming pregnant while attending nursing school. She initially slept in her car or stayed temporarily with other people. Following the birth of her daughter Jasmine, who is now two, Kimberly moved Jasmine and herself between shelters, seeking safety and stability. Throughout that time, seeing her child experience homelessness was deeply challenging.

"Imagine if you were a kid and you didn't know where you were going to sleep at night or where your next meal would be coming from," she said. "Unhoused kids haven't even had a chance at life yet, and they're already going through so much."

These days, Kimberly and her daughter are in permanent housing, where they can finally enjoy the safety and stability of a home. She hopes that she can be a lifeline to other young, unhoused parents by participating in the series.

"I decided to participate in FIRSTHAND for a bigger purpose: I wanted to put everything out there and be as vulnerable as I could because it might help somebody who is going through the same thing," she said. "Maybe I could show them that there's still hope in the world."

You can watch Kimberly's story and other documentaries about homelessness at wttw.com/firsthand. 

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