SW 200 4/21/2005
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, 2002). 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,...