Homelessness has been a prevalent and contentious topic since its public emergence in the 1980’s. In fact, according to the most recent estimates, on any given night in the United States, there are roughly 645,000 people residing in homeless shelters or unsheltered street locations (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011). And based on a local study done by the Mental Health Unit at the Houston Police Department in 2011, Houston has the largest homeless population in Texas and the eighth largest in the United States. While many great efforts have been put forth to aid the homeless population in Houston, “the public health epidemiology task of quantifying and tracking child and family homelessness over time has been complicated…by increasing rates of…shortages [in] affordable housing” (Grant et al., 2013), and restrictions on temporary encampments (Loftus-Ferren, 2013). In order to successfully reduce, prevent and combat homelessness, more policies must be put in place to create sustainable, affordable housing for homeless families and to modify current laws that harm homeless individuals.
“The National Center on Family Homelessness currently estimates that as many as fifty U. S. children (1.5 million) are homeless or “precariously housed” in temporary quarters such as motels and shelters” (Cohen, 2009). Today’s economic crisis is not helping this growing number of families that are being relocated as home foreclosures and loss of jobs add to the overwhelming number of homeless
In Eleanor J. Baders Homeless Campus article, it talks about numerous of students that were homeless while going to school. Some of the students continued schooling because they wanted their education without letting anyone know they were homeless, they should have spoken up for help or withdraw because it was hard for them to continue on. Some even camped out in the woods or even couch surf, because there was no other place for them to go. It was even hard for them to stay clean, and when the school was empty, and no one was around some of the students went to the gym to take showers. Some slept in their cars; because that was the only place, they could sleep in. It was a hard life for these students, especially the ones who had a child to take care of. It was hard for the parent because they could not feed and clean the child nor did they have anyone to take a cause of the child.
Under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, the fifty states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia received funding to investigate the number and the needs of homeless children, to identify obstacles that would prevent them from receiving an education and to develop a plan to overcome these problems (Pawlas, 1996). The McKinney Act also provides emergency food assistance, adult literacy instruction, job training, health services and other programs. Under this act, homeless children are ensured access to the same, free appropriate public education other children in the state receive.
With the informing of the nation, next comes the awareness of the government. The most influential Americans, the ones capable of written, federal change, have turned an ear to the cause. Legislation so far has helped greatly. Acts like the Housing and Community Act of 1974, which gave housing opportunities for lower income families, and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, an organization aimed at helping communities and with which the Education for Homeless Children and Youth program was added to in 1987, have supported the cause to this day. The aforementioned Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program ensured homeless children and youth equal access to an education. Even with this help, many schools found conflict arising in areas such as residency, guardian requirements, incomplete or missing documentation (Dealing with 114). There is
Unemployment and lack of education plays a major role in these individual homeless people’s lives. With unemployment and high school dropout rates rising, homelessness cannot be prevented. Kids are taught from a young age to stay in school because the ones that dropout around high school is more than likely to become homeless. High school dropouts are likely to become homeless because they are likely to get kicked out of their dysfunctional home, or possibly run away from home feeling as if they are not good enough for the family. Dropouts will find it difficult to preserve a job, most will turn to drugs, becoming an addict, only hoping that it will make things better, really just increasing the rate of poverty and homelessness.
People often think that homelessness only affects men and women but in reality homelessness also affects families “It is estimated that 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness every year. Among this group, 17 percent are single women and 30 percent are families with children” (Finfgeld-Connet, 2010, p.1). It is said that women along with their children are among the fastest growing homeless population and not only does it impact women but it also impacts their children significantly.
There are an estimated 2,981 homeless people in San Antonio each day. Out of these, 1,243 were unsheltered and a staggering 31% of those are people with families. In addition, the average age of a homeless child in San Antonio is 6 years old. An overall picture shows that homelessness has dropped nearly four percent from 2012 to 2013. Further, an average of 610,042 people are homeless across the United States on any given night. “Of that number, 36 percent – 222,197 people – were in families, representing a drop of 7 percent for that group” (Chappell, 2013, p. #). More than a third of these people were not found in shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, or under bridges. Although, there has been a small decline in homelessness,
In 2013, I had the opportunity to assist local public school administrators on the issue of illiteracy and the allocation of resources in inner-city schools. Additionally, I collaborated on a small team to implement plans to provide public housing for the homeless in Orange County, CA. During this time, I also had the opportunity to be a nanny for five kids who were formerly homeless. I was able to be a part of their transition from street life to home life and witness the effects of poverty
The McKinney-Vento Act not only provides immediate shelter and food to the homeless, but it also guarantees a homeless child’s right to an education. McKinney-Vento assures that homeless students who struggle attending school have access to a proper education and gain other necessary services necessary (Katel). The McKinney-Vento Act recognizes the importance of an education by providing homeless students with basic educational rights, transportation and other basic school necessities. Although there are still major complications in educating homeless students, this act
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento) covers many aspects of homelessness. The original Act contained 15 different programs for people who were homeless (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD], 2007). I will be focusing on Title VII-B of this act. This section of McKinney-Vento speaks to homeless children and their right to equal access to an appropriate public school education. This Act has been in existence since 1987. Due to school performance standards put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, this specific section of the McKinney-Vento Act has been reauthorized to include new mandates (United States Department of Education [DE], 2004).
Homeless families with children represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population; in fact, they constitute about 40 percent of all people who are homeless (Stronge 7). In addition, the most recent estimate of homeless children and youngsters by the United States Department of Education is 744,000 (Stronge 7). These statistics are indeed quite frightening, and they go to show that children constitute a large part of the homeless dilemma. The part of that dilemma that seems most taxing is that of educating such homeless children. How can these kids become active members of society if they are unable to receive a proper public education, the same education that is provided for so many other kids under the Constitution?
The McKinney‐Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in December 2001, ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness (CDE). Make sure that any students identified as homeless enroll in school, and receive the same opportunity to do well in school. Make sure that homeless families be provided with any services they are eligible for. Homeless Liaison assists students at Angela Davis College Prep.
With the current recession and foreclosure crisis, more families are facing homelessness than ever before. This presents additional struggles for children and the schools who educate them. Since many of the students have no fixed place to stay, they could bounce from school to school providing no stability for education, or in some areas these children are transported back to their original home school sometimes causing kids to be on busses for long commutes. When children face a lack of stability in the classroom it is easier to fall behind, and teachers might only begin to see deficiencies in skills after observing work for a while it could lead a student to fall further behind every day.
Imagine a young child growing up, learning, and trying to further his or her life to obtain success in the future. For an “everyday” child this can be challenging, however “everyday” obstacles can be overcome. For thousands of children in the United States, this dream is almost impossible to achieve. These children are a part of the homeless population that is spread throughout the United States. Many times these individuals try to hide this major secret from the rest of the world, but homelessness is very prevalent among these youths today. Various problems occur in these peoples’ lives that others could not even begin to understand. Homelessness affects children in every stage of life physically, mentally, and emotionally.