Child Homelessness in America - Stephen Lendman
The National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) studies and reports on the phenomenon, including its causes and consequences. On March 10, 2009, it launched a Campaign to End Child Homelessness, and on the same day released "America's Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness." It discovered one in 50 homeless children annually (about 1.5 million), saying it's dedicated to ending the problem - now even greater than during the timeline of the study, largely preceding the current economic crisis.
Whether homeless "by economic hardship, domestic violence," war, or other reasons, affected families lose more than homes. They lose health, safety, and the ability to support themselves, their children especially impacted.
Data from 2005 - 06 was the most complete available for the report. Selected 2007 - 08 data was used when possible, including for minimum wage and Fair Market Rent. The last National Survey of Children's Health was completed in 2003.
Though perceived as an urban issue, rural homelessness is some of the most hidden - complicated by limited access to services, transportation, and affordable housing. Some families move in with relatives or friends. Many others find shelter in abandoned shacks, vehicles, campgrounds, or dilapidated structures on private land. Overall, an estimated 9% of homeless people are rural. Their lower visibility, however, "suggests that this subgroup is not fully represented (in the study) and may contribute to a significant undercount."
"It is unacceptable for one child in the United States to be homeless for even one day." What does it say about a nation willing to bail out criminal bankers, but won't address "our smallest, most vulnerable citizens."
Its study updates an earlier 1999 one, showing today's problem is worse. It covers the status of homeless children in four categories:
-- "extent of child homelessness;
-- child well-being;
-- structural risk factors; (and)
-- state-by-state policy and planning efforts."
The long-term effects of economic decline, including joblessness; home foreclosures; rising food, fuel, shelter and medical costs; and dwindling supplies of low-cost housing will severely keep impacting the fate of young children and parents unable to provide proper care - Washington doing nothing to help them.
Definition of Homelessness
Children or youths:
-- "Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (like doubling-up);