“. . . 1 in 45 children experience homelessness in the U.S. each year. That’s over 1.6 million children. While homeless, these youth experience high rates of acute and chronic health problems. The constant barrage of stressful and traumatic experiences also has profound effects on their development and ability to learn.”
Tag Archives: children
An empty apartment is not a home. When students go to college, their parents usually buy them bedding, cooking utensils, clothes, and food—so they can focus on their studies. When formerly homeless persons move into an apartment, just like those students starting on a new path, their home needs to be fully furnished; in turn, they can focus on looking for work and rebuilding their lives.
Over a million homeless children in the U.S. (and countless who have not been included in homeless counts) continue to experience “hard-knock” lives. They don’t need a billionaire, like Oliver Warbucks to save them. They need us to collectively unmask hidden issues and create tangible solutions that prevent and end their homelessness. It is not “their” problem to fix. It is all of ours.
A third of our nation’s children reside in homes defined as poor, where the household income is below 60% of the national median income for 2008, or $31,000. In other countries, this annual income is a fortune, but in this country, a family that survives on $31,000 per year places their children on a pathway to adult poverty, if not homelessness.
We have billionaires and millionaires in our country. Who cares that one-fifth of our children are floundering in poverty? Who needs to know that most cities in America have people living on their streets?
How does our country allow more than one million school children to be homeless? And how many more children are homeless, and do not attend school at all?
You, our next generation of American adults, should have the right to a safe home, where you are surrounded by people who love you. But instead, 1.7 million of you are escaping your family homes in search of a place where you are free to live the you are supposed to live. Sure, most of you eventually return home, perhaps because your search leads you to a dead end. But thousands of you leave your family homes permanently. Thousands of you, who are still transitioning into adulthood, are experiencing an animal-like life on the streets. Even at age 15, or younger.
A bunch of things got me wondering about child care costs. How unaffordable are they for low-income parents who don’t have the benefit of subsidies? The annual survey reports by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies are the best source of data on affordability I’ve found. So I pulled figures from the latest report — most of them for 2009. Then did some calculations of my own — or more precisely, told Excel to do them. Here’s a summary of key results, plus some Google gleanings about impacts.
If my own story is any indication, these new acts of charity can change people’s lives forever. I have experienced it first hand. I asked the !deation community to hit “fast forward” and picture the future. Could they see where that orphaned child, hungry and barefoot, would be in 30 years?
I can. Because I am that child.
I met a father at the Virginia Williams Family Resources Center, the District of Columbia’s central intake for homeless families. He was there with his wife and their baby and toddler because they were running out of money to pay for the motel room they’d been staying in. He said he was afraid the children would be taken away from them. I asked him if anyone had told him that. Not exactly, but he was worried. I think of him now because the Family Resources Center has started reporting all homeless families with no place to stay to the Child and Family Services Agency, the District’s child welfare program.