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  • Jim Strawn

Children & Families Who Are Homeless



From: End Homelessness

Adults and children in families make up about 33 percent of the homeless population.

HOW MANY CHILDREN AND FAMILIES EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS?


On a single night in January 2018:

An estimated 180,413 people in families — or 56,342 family households — were identified as homeless.Approximately 16,390  people in families were living on the street, in a car, or in another place not meant for human habitation.

Between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017, an estimated 478,718 people in 150,630 family households used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program.


WHY DO FAMILIES EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS?


Families experiencing homelessness are similar to other families that are also poor, but who have a home to live in. Both may struggle with incomes that are far less than they need to pay for housing. In fact, it is often some jolt to this precarious situation – a lost job or work hours, conflict with family members they are staying with, an unanticipated bill or violence within the home – that leads families to seek help from homeless service programs.  Homeless families are usually headed by a single woman with limited education, are typically young, and have young children.


THE IMPACT OF HOMELESSNESS ON CHILDREN

Homelessness can have a tremendous impact on children – their education, health, sense of safety, and overall development.  Fortunately, researchers find that children are also highly resilient and differences between children who have experienced homelessness and low-income children who have not typically diminish in the years following a homeless episode.

When compared to low-income and homeless families, children experiencing homelessness have been shown to:

Have higher levels of emotional and behavioral problems;Have increased risk of serious health problems;Are more likely to experience separations from their families; andExperience more school mobility, repeat a grade, be expelled or drop out of school, and have lower academic performance.


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