Children on the Streets

By Dr. Chad Audi

You’ve heard the saying, “Children are our future,” but it’s getting increasingly difficult for kids to get the proper education and home life needed to become successful. In fact, many don’t even have a place to call home. A recent report from the National Center on Family Homelessness shows one of every 50 children in America experienced homelessness from 2005-2006. That means about 1.5 million children were impacted by homelessness at least once during that period. That’s astonishing!

The report indicates several states do not have adequate plans to address the problem of homeless children. And it’s a problem that is worsening because of foreclosures and job losses. The 2006 data show Hurricane Katrina was a major factor. Because of the upheaval caused by the catastrophic storm, Louisiana had the most homeless children per capita, followed by Texas and California.

Children are greatly affected by homelessness. He or she can have problems in school, making it hard for them to grasp the academic tools they need. The National Center on Family Homelessness report says homeless children are far more likely than other children to repeat a grade and drop out. Additionally, they are more likely to suffer from hunger and chronic health problems.

The report shows a need for more homeless shelters that cater to families, along with more extensive state plans to curb child homelessness. It recommends increased federal spending on low-income housing, assistance to struggling renters and homeowners, and investment in child care for homeless children. At Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we provide entire families with shelter, food, clothes and medical assistance. We make sure the kids have access to academic, recreational and drug/alcohol prevention services.

Is it possible to end homelessness for all U.S. children? That’s a difficult question, but the entire country must begin to help these innocent victims.

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