Homeless Children In America

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Homeless Children in America

To be homeless is to not have a home or a permanent place of residence. Nationwide, there is estimated to be 3.5 million people that are homeless, and roughly 1.35 million of them are children. It is shown that homeless rates, which are the number of sheltered beds in a city divided by the cities population, have tripled since the 1980’s (National Coalition for Homeless, 2014). Worldwide, it is estimated that 100 million children live and work on the streets. Homeless children are more at risk than anyone else, and are among the fastest growing age groups of homelessness. Single women with children represent the fastest growing group of homeless, accounting for about 40% of the people that are becoming homeless today.

Children that are homeless can become this way for a variety of reasons. Youth can be on their own, with no permanent residence or even usual place to sleep. They could have also been separated from their own homeless parents and placed in foster care or living with some of their relatives. A child could be part of a family that becomes homeless, or even belong to a single parent. The decline in low cost housing, which has been declining over the last 20 years, could be to blame for the amount of people on the streets. With the explosion of growth in the suburbs, these cities have created local governments that make it easy to keep low income housing out of their communities. Ideas such as redlining and predatory lending can lead to low income families not receiving the needed loans to move into housing, which can force them into the streets.

The programs to help the poor and homeless are few and far between. There are five general programs that assist those who are not able to provide for certain things, such as food, shelter and care for the children. These programs are Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the Food Stamps programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Unemployment Compensation, and General Assistance. These programs are generally harder to get into than what most people think. People must meet strict requirements to be able to receive money from the federal government. For example, a household qualifies for the expedited service of the Food Stamp program, a family must have less than $150 in gross monthly income, be a migrant or seasonal farm worker with resources o...

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.... People refuse to get jobs once they are on welfare, which hurts their chances even more of saving up money to be able to buy or rent housing, which could force them eventually out onto the streets. Affordable housing is another issue that needs to be addressed quickly to alleviate the problem of homelessness. Low income housing is generally associated with crime and other undesirable characteristics, which force other communities to shun these types of housing proposals. I agree with the concept that the CWS is now implementing into their system, by not removing a child from their own household unless absolutely deemed necessary. By giving the child a chance to live in their own house and not be placed into foster care so quickly gives the child a future that would otherwise not be so great.


Baumohl, J. Homelessness in America. (1996). Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press.

Kryder-Coe, J., Salamon, L.M. & Molnar, J.M. (1991). Homeless Children and Youth. New Brunswick, NJ: The Transaction Publishers.

National Coalition for Homeless. (2014). How Many People Experience Homelessness? Web 10 April 10, 2015
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