Profile Under 18 And Homeless Essay Research

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Profile: Under 18 And Homeless Essay, Research Paper Profile: Under 18 and Homeless Lydia M. Child described a home as That blessed word, which opens to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of Heaven, and helps to carry it thither, as on an angel s wings. Most people take the luxury of having a home for granted, but the reality is, not every one is lucky enough to have a roof over their head every night. The question that comes to mind is simple in its essence, but not as easy to answer: How do families and kids end up on the streets and what is being done about it? Counting the exact number of homeless people is difficult; the reported number differs depending on whom you ask. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), up to 600,000 men, women

and children go homeless every night in the United States. The Better Homes Fund claims the number of homeless children alone is 1.2 million. The Fund bases their findings on the estimates from the U.S. Department of Education that reports 400,000 homeless children were served by the nation s public schools last year. Because more that half of all homeless children are under the age of six and not yet in school and some homeless kids do not attend school at all, the Fund concluded the total number of homeless children in America is 1.2 million. But whatever the number is, the fact remains the same; homeless children become a part of our cities, towns and villages. They roam the streets night after night, moving from place to place in a search of food and shelter, lacking medical

attention and education. Except during the Great Depression, women and children have never been on our nation s streets in significant numbers. During the 1980 s, cutback in benefits coupled with rapidly increasing rents and shortage of low-income housing jeopardized the stability of all people with reduced or fixed incomes. At the same time, the number of female-headed households dramatically increased. As a result, the nation s population of homeless families swelled from almost negligible numbers to nearly 40% of the overall homeless population today. A survey of 30 U.S. cities found that in 1998, children accounted for 25% of the urban homeless population and unaccompanied minors accounted for 3% of the urban homeless population. Single mothers head more that 85% of homeless

families, with the average homeless family comprise of a young mother and her two young children, most of who are under the age of six. The Better Homes Fund predicts an increase in family homelessness do to tight housing markets accompanied by decreasing availability of cash benefits as a result of welfare reform. The life of a homeless child is a wrenching, uphill struggle. The Better Homes Fund researchers found that homeless children are in fair to poor health twice as often as other children and four times as often as children whose families earn more than $35,000 a year. Medical problems for homeless children start at birth; they have higher rates of low birth weight and need special care right after birth four times as often as other children. Throughout their young lives,

homeless children suffer from very high rate of acute illness, with half suffering from two or more symptoms during a single month. Homeless children are confronted with stressful, often traumatic events every day. They worry they will have no place to live, no place to sleep, and that something bad will happen to their family. That s not surprising considering that; 97% of homeless children move up to three times a year; over 30% are evicted from their housing; 22% are separated from their families, often put in foster care or sent to live with relatives; 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their family. Often they are the subjects of the abuse: 8% have been physically abused; 8% have been sexually abused. Fifteen-year-old Andrew was sent to live with his uncle after his