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Family Homelessness Hits Kids Hardest

Family Homelessness Hits Kids Hardest

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness reports that having a stable home benefits children for a lifetime, positively impacting their overall well-being, health, education, and future employment opportunities. The reverse is also true: children who experience homelessness at some time in their lives are much more prone to lifelong consequences.

Homeless families are most often headed by a single woman in her late 20s, with two children, one or both of whom are under the age of six. Children in this age group are at a critical point in their lives, where lack of developmental opportunities can produce physical, psychological and emotional harm.

Research has shown that trauma and extreme stress in childhood can have negative implications for brain structure and function later in life. Homeless children are prone to suffer from:

  • lack of regular health care
  • food insecurity
  • high school absenteeism
  • the need to repeat a grade
  • higher drop-out rates
  • higher exposure to violence
  • depression and other mental illnesses

The Council also cites a HUD study that reveals providing homeless families with a permanent housing subsidy leads to significant spillover effects, including dramatic reductions in family separations, domestic violence, psychological distress, food insecurity, and school mobility — all of which have powerful impacts on child well-being.

With the goal of ending family homelessness in 2020 right around the corner, Liberty Bank Foundation strongly advocates for continuation of all the supports established in the last few years — housing subsidies, rapid rehousing, and access to case management and other services. What we do today will have an enormous (positive or negative) impact on children who are counting on us to give them a safe, self-sufficient future.