CALIFORNIA ALONE HAS MORE THAN 200,000 HOMELESS KIDS

 

uspoverty.change.org

 An op-ed piece in the January 25, 2011, San Jose Mercury News offers a statistic that’s enough to make your hair stand up. Former state senators John Burton and Carol Liu make the case that more than 200,000 California children between the ages of 12 and 17 experience a period of homelessness each year. And this statistic does not include homeless kids who are with their families.

            Add almost another 100,000 if you include kids who are with their families, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. When parents plan on having kids, they seldom, if ever, contemplate such devastating possibilities.

            Less than one-third of California counties have even one shelter bed available for kids who are not with families. Many of these “street” kids escaped abuse and neglect. Some left due to a parent’s mental illness.

            About one in 50 kids will experience homelessness this year. The 1.5 million American kids who will be homeless exceed the entire populations of Wyoming and Alaska combined.

            Without access to reliable shelter, homeless youths fall into a cycle of lack of education, unemployment, illicit substance abuse, poor health, crime, and adult homelessness.

And if you think homelessness can’t happen to your children, you’re just kidding yourself. We have seen it happen to kids from well-off families. Many of today’s homeless youths got into that predicament because the U.S. economy tanked and made life a living hell for many family members.

Our soon-to-be-published book, Enough of Us, is subtitled Why we Should Think Twice Before Having Children for a lot of reasons. Not the least of them is the possibility that we cannot come close to predicting how our kids will turn out, no matter how good our intentions. Is this a gamble worth taking?

            An op-ed piece in the January 25, 2011, San Jose Mercury News offers a statistic that’s enough to make your hair stand up. Former state senators John Burton and Carol Liu make the case that more than 200,000 California children between the ages of 12 and 17 experience a period of homelessness each year. And this statistic does not include homeless kids who are with their families.

            Add almost another 100,000 if you include kids who are with their families, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. When parents plan on having kids, they seldom, if ever, contemplate such devastating possibilities.

            Less than one-third of California counties have even one shelter bed available for kids who are not with families. Many of these “street” kids escaped abuse and neglect. Some left due to a parent’s mental illness.

            About one in 50 kids will experience homelessness this year. The 1.5 million American kids who will be homeless exceed the entire populations of Wyoming and Alaska combined.

            Without access to reliable shelter, homeless youths fall into a cycle of lack of education, unemployment, illicit substance abuse, poor health, crime, and adult homelessness.

And if you think homelessness can’t happen to your children, you’re just kidding yourself. We have seen it happen to kids from well-off families. Many of today’s homeless youths got into that predicament because the U.S. economy tanked and made life a living hell for many family members.

Our soon-to-be-published book, Enough of Us, is subtitled Why we Should Think Twice Before Having Children for a lot of reasons. Not the least of them is the possibility that we cannot come close to predicting how our kids will turn out, no matter how good our intentions. Is this a gamble worth taking?

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