No Mans Land

As Families Fight for Housing and Child Care, Help Is on the Way

child care
NBC Bay Area

NBC Bay Area’s digital investigative series NO MAN’S LAND exposes a broken system that denies single fathers basic services. During the 10-month investigation, the Investigative Unit tracked the agencies and resources that help single fathers and struggling parents keep their families together. 

A growing number of low-income single fathers are often denied basic services.

“Why is it that I just couldn’t get any help from the county?” asked Mike Duarte after he and his baby daughter were turned away by multiple homeless shelters.

“We need to offer more services for men,” said Colleen Berumen, director of Opportunity House, a homeless shelter in Vacaville. “Statistically, 80 percent of our homeless are men. They receive 20 percent of the services,” said Berumen. 

Child care spaces are also impossible to find for millions who need them. The Investigative Unit found biases and perceptions make child care access especially challenging single fathers. 

“I call and they say, ‘OK. where’s the mother at?’ I’m like, ‘It’s me.’ They’re like ‘Can you get somebody else to call back?’ It’s just ridiculous,” said John Jones, also a single father, after being questioned by a daycare worker.  

And, if you have any sort of criminal record, landlords can shut you and your family out of rental housing. 

“Almost every single one of my residents has applied to try to get into Crime Free Housing and turned down left and right. It’s very sad,” said Berumen.

Led by Investigative Reporter Candice Nguyen and Investigative Producer Robert Campos, NO MAN’S LAND is a digital-original series that investigates some of the biggest issues facing the Bay Area and California. Here are a list of resources you may be interested in as you watch:


First, call 211. Like 911, your call is routed to an operator, but instead of law enforcement you are connected to referral specialists who will access databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies in your local area.

Single fathers, families and essential workers:

Emergency shelter resources :

Housing & formerly incarcerated resources:

Working parents and child care resources:

If you're an essential worker or have a child with special needs, you may qualify for free child care in San Francisco.

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