It might be difficult to fathom, but an epidemic of homelessness among children has gripped this country like never before. But who is listening and who really cares? Well we should! All of us!
Every day another child has their life turned upside down by this economy. Families displaced by foreclosures and unemployment have created tent cities everywhere. While the problem may be worse in some regions, foreclosures and job losses are taking a very harsh toll on families nationwide, and creating a growing issue with implications for a “damaged” future generation.
The number of homeless people in the U.S. is the subject of much debate and disagreement. But many experts agree we are approaching or have exceeded one million homeless Americans, and more than 40 percent of those are children.
Research has shown us that homelessness often hinders a child’s ability to socialize and learn. Not only do they suffer from hunger, stress, insecurity and exhaustion, but they also have a hard time performing in school and are confronted with traumatic experiences that keep nearly half of homeless children from graduating with their peers.
Because of their environment, many homeless kids tend to have learning difficulties, emotional problems and delays in their development.
With the challenges of transportation, supplies and food, and with the threat of imminent cutbacks, school districts are overburdened and overwhelmed with the need, unable to be truly effective. School districts say they are seeing more students from middle-class, working-class and working-poor families being pushed into homelessness.
Many families that desperately need help are unwilling to acknowledge their living situation and therefore do not receive assistance from schools or communities. Families with children living in emergency shelters, pop-up campers, cars and tents can be charged with neglect by Child Protective Services workers, and are afraid to speak up or reach out for assistance.
So, what can we do? How can you help? If you do have reason to believe that a child is homeless, make sure to look for signs with every child that possibly could be in peril. Donate to shelters and assist wherever possible to ease the pain by giving and donating food, articles of clothing, school supplies and money.
Even though times are difficult … if we all do our part we can get through this crisis together. Let’s all make a difference!