My dog won’t go outside to “do his business” first thing in the morning unless I go outside with him. Yes, we have a fence, and no, this is not normal.  Nothing about this dog is normal.  If you don’t go outside with him, he will decide he wants to go inside, and he wears a sort of doggie diaper just in case.  So, every morning, rain or shine, I stand outside in the dark, and to the chagrin of my neighbors, and yell, “just go!” several times.

This is not a post about my dog (does anyone want him?). It’s a post about the fact that it is COLD. It is cold outside at 5:30 in the morning when the dog won’t just go do his thing.  My brain had just thawed out from the deep freeze (bomb cyclone!) that hit us at the very beginning of the year, and here we are back with low temperatures in the teens.

My dog Avon, snuggled up trying to keep warm!

As I stand outside in my jammies and bathrobe for a few minutes in the morning, it is hard to imagine what it must feel like to have spent the entire night outside. Across Charlotte, shelters and churches are opening their doors to our neighbors who are homeless.

The YWCA provides safe, affordable housing and intensive support services for homeless families with minor children through our Families Together program. We have 10 townhomes on the Park Road campus where whole families can live together for up to eighteen months without having to be separated.  89% of our families exited the program last year into permanent housing, and of those 100% remain permanently housed. 100%.

Imagine going from sleeping in a shelter, in your car, on a friend’s couch, or worse, outside, to having your own family home at the YWCA for eighteen months while you are learning budgeting skills, getting career counseling, financial planning, and more, while knowing that your children are safe and warm. And that you can all live together.

Warms my heart to think about it. Want to learn more?  Visit us as ywcacentralcarolinas.org.