Amid cold, packed shelters almost cost homeless mom her kids - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Amid cold, packed shelters almost cost homeless mom her kids

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Shonda Barnes was at risk to lose her children this week because she couldn't find them a place to stay. Shonda Barnes was at risk to lose her children this week because she couldn't find them a place to stay.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A homeless mother who got sick in the frigid cold is spending one more night at the hospital before she is back on the streets trying to care for her children.

And she found out a common problem - homeless shelters are slammed and hard to get into.

Shonda Barnes was at risk to lose her children this week because she couldn't find them a place to stay.

"Now that it is complete wintertime now, all the shelters are full," Barnes said. "They said if I couldn't find no one, they would call DFS, and they would take them."

In the midst of a stressful search, she came down with pneumonia and has been at Research Medical Center for the past week while her children stayed with a family friend who stepped up to help.

Barnes fell on hard times when she recently moved back from California.

"I didn't get those resources that I was looking for, and I am a woman to admit, I make mistakes," she said.

The family was staying at City Union Mission, but they can only stay there a month at a time with a month off between visits. She was there just three weeks ago, but she is ready now to be released from the hospital.

"Until then, I have nowhere to go with the children," she said.

However, the City Union Mission made an exception because she was about five days out from her 30 days, and she was coming from the hospital.

She will move back in there with her children Tuesday until she can come up with a long-term plan.

"Hit this pavement, get out here and find a job," she said.

But Barnes said it was frustrating to see how few beds there are for women who don't have addictions but do need help.

"For mothers that are coming on hard times and end up in the situation, I'm in with having to go to shelters and things like that.  (There) should be more resources," she said.

Barnes said she felt like she was being punished for not having a drug or alcohol addiction because she found more of those programs available.

She said she is grateful to Research Medical Center that let her stay there until she knew where she could go next.

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