Saturday, July 7, 2012

1 million homeless students in the U.S.

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The U.S. Education Department recently reported that the number of homeless students in America has topped one million by the end of the 2010-2011 school year. That number is a 57 % increase since 2007. As if that isn't shocking enough, experts are saying that the count of 1 million is probably half of what it could be if kids were more accurately counted. The report doesn't include homeless infants, children not enrolled in school and those children schools have failed to identify.

71 % of children identified as homeless by the Education Department list their family or friends' homes as their residency. When they are listed as such, these children aren't considered homeless by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and in turn can not apply for subsidized housing. This means that of the 1 million homeless students identified by the Education department, only 300, 000 of those children are considered homeless by the Housing and Urban Development Department. How can this be you ask? Don't we have the obligation to help all of these children? our country's future depends on it. Currently Congress is considering the expansion of the definition of homeless (bill H.R. 32) to include those living on friends and relatives' couches or in motel rooms-addressing the increase in the number of families losing their homes due to the recession. However, advocates are currently divided on this bill as some worry it would drain funds away from those needed immediate help and live on the street.  In December, 6 children testified at a congressional hearing to share their stories of stress and struggles at school as they sleep 4 to 5 in a cheap motel and bounce from one relatives couch to another. What are your thoughts?

The thought of families and children living on the streets or bouncing around from one shelter to another is one that could keep me up every night. The average age of a homeless person is 9 years old. 9 YEARS OLD. For children, not having a permanent place to call home and having to change schools frequently sets them up for failure educationally, socially, and emotionally. Congress needs to increase the budget of HUD, so they can address the needs of all homeless children. Homlessness is a HUGE problem in our country.

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