For the fourth consecutive year, Father's Day is attracting hundreds of communities across the country to participate in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Reconnecting Families and Dad's Program, hosting free events to support dads living in public housingto stay connected with their children. This year, over 400 local public housing agencies are hosting events this Saturday and throughout the month to celebrate fatherhood and family. See which housing authorities are hosting events in your area.
"All across America, housing authorities and their surrounding communities are coming together to host activities that will bring fathers and their children closer together," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, a father of two. "Kids who have involved fathers in their lives grow up to be happier, healthier and better prepared to succeed in life. These events will connect dads with the resources they need to help them be the best fathers they can be."
Local housing authorities will offer activities for fathers and their children who live in public housing or the surrounding community. The events have a two-fold purpose: offering activities for fathers and their children and to connect these men to economic development resources.
The local offices of federal agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Justice, will offer on-site information and servicesat some of the events. Local authorities have partnered with organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club of America, and the National Fatherhood Initiative(NFI), to host events that celebrate fatherhood. Created in 1994, NFI aims to raise awareness about the importance of having fathers present in their children's life.
HUD's Father's Day initiative is part of a larger Obama Administration effort to promote responsible fatherhood. The National Conversation on Responsible Fatherhood and Strong Communities focuses on fatherhood and at-risk youth -- a priority for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
When addressing the importance of fathers, President Obama once said at a Father's Day event, "Our children don't need us to be superheroes. They don't need us to be perfect. They do need us to be present. They need us to show up and give it our best shot, no matter what else is going on in our lives. They need us to show them -- not just with words, but with deeds -- that they, those kids, are always our first priority."
According to U.S. Census data, 24 million American children live in a home without a father. NFI has also found that children in fatherless homes are five times more likely to live below the poverty line. Furthermore, these children are more likely to drop out of school or be incarcerated.
Modeled after a 2010 New York City Housing campaign and following President Obama's lead in starting a national discussion on responsible fatherhood, the initiative aims to strengthen the bond between children and their fathers, who are often absent from the lives of their children who live in public housing.