Yamille Medina sits in front of a mirror while a makeup artist brushes purple blush onto her cheeks. She cradles her 2-year-old son, Antonio, in her arms; he’s a bit cranky.
Nearby, a nine-months-pregnant woman is picking out a dress from a collection of outfits hanging on a rack. Another woman who had her baby six days ago is having her hair blow-dried.
These women are homeless. They live at the Miami Rescue Mission’s women’s shelter, many with their children. On this day, the women and their children are being treated to a staple of the holiday season: a portrait session.
Medina and her two sons, Antonio and Willie, share a cramped room stuffed with suitcases full of clothes, bags of toys, and other items they were able to keep when they were evicted from their apartment a year ago.
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The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for families in homeless shelters.
Families with children are the fastest-growing homeless population in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s also true in Florida.
“They just feel hopeless ‘cause this isn’t what they envisioned,” says Marilyn Brummet, director of development for the Miami Rescue Mission.
The portrait event is made possible by Help Portrait, an international movement to put volunteer photographers in touch with people who can’t afford professional pictures. At least a dozen local photographers and makeup artists volunteered their time for Help Portrait Miami day.
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Nadege Green can be reached at ngreen@MiamiHerald.com