Becky Sednak, executive director of One House at a Time, describe the work of her organization, and in particular its focus on “beds for kids”.
Initially working with furniture for the formerly homeless, this organization for the past 17 years has focused on providing children a bed of their own. Originally, the group provided a box spring, mattress, a sheet set, and a blanket. This led to a discussion of the bedbug problem, and steel frame beds have been now substituted for the box spring. In addition, the Temperapedic mattress company has agreed to supply high quality mattresses free, with the organization paying only for transportation.
More recently the group has added pillows, mattress encasement, stuffed animals to choose from, and educational materials. In conjunction with a professor from St. Joseph’s University, the group has found that children with their own bed sleep 30 minutes more per night.
Their healthy sleep habits initiative now includes toothbrushes, brushing instructions, and books as alternative to using electronic materials at home. The academic study has led the group to emphasize several sleep education messages: in bed before 9 PM; no caffeine (e.g., iced tea); and no electronics in the bedroom.
The need for such beds in the greater Philadelphia area is approximately 6000 beds per year. Currently, the group can supply 2000 to their clients, who are found through the social service agencies of the area.