“My name is Shakurah. I’m a mom of three,” Shakurah Hairston said, standing on stage at the Horizons for Homeless Children’s 19th Annual Women’s Breakfast.

Then the tears came.

“In 2013, I become homeless due to domestic violence. I finally accepted the fact that I was in a dangerous relationship, and once I did, I decided to flee.” She stayed with a relative, which meant eight people in a two-bedroom apartment. Since then she has stayed in motels, shelters, and a hospital.

Fortunately, she also took her youngest son to Horizons for Homeless Children. Horizons helps homeless families by providing world-class early education programs.

The program helped Hairston’s son, and it helped her. It’s a story about creating opportunity that’s worth hearing from Shakurah Hairston herself, so please watch the video.

Because Horizons knows how important high-quality early education is – especially for homeless children who need stability – the organization supports a State House bill called An Act Providing Immediate Child Care Assistance to Homeless Families.

The bill would cut through red tape by restoring a 2007 policy that “allows families living in all types of homeless shelters to be deemed eligible to access childcare as soon as they enter a shelter.”

Strategies for Children supports this bill. It aligns with our goal of creating high-quality early education for all by prioritizing children who have the highest needs. This includes the 3,000-plus children under age six who currently live in Massachusetts’ shelters. To eliminate opportunity gaps for these children and families in dire circumstances and to ensure that they have equitable access to programs and services, policymakers must provide shortcuts.

If this bill passes, Horizons and other early education and care programs could help many more families like Shakurah’s.