To The Daily Sun,
As we begin another season of cold and snow, here's a sad tale that is all too true. The One Percenters in this country are bringing the United States to a very dangerous demographic situation that is like that of third world countries.
The National Center for Family and Homelessness released a report in September which highlights the following:
1. 1 in 30 children living in the U.S. is homeless.
2. 2.5 million people — or 37 percent of the entire population — of the U.S. are currently homeless.
3. There has been an increase in homelessness is 31 states and the District of Columbia from 2012 to 2013.
4. There are homeless children in every city, county and state in the U.S.
The authors of the report found that 10 percent to 26 percent of homeless pre-school children had mental health issues requiring clinical evaluation. These figures are based on the most recent U.S. Department of Education 2013 data released in September, 2014.
A homeless child is defined as follows:
1. Lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
2. Living in a residence that is a public or private place not designed for human beings.
3. Living in a shelter providing temporary housing.
4. Sharing housing with other families.
There are additional criteria used as measurement.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was signed into law in 1987 and reauthorized in 2009 as the Homeless Emergency Act (HEARTH). All 50 states and the District of Columbia take part in the annual count. The numbers reported by the McKinney-Vento school liaisons are likely an undercount of homeless children attending public schools. For more than 25 years the National Center on Family Homelessness has conducted research to document the reality of these children's experiences with the hope that the information can mobilize the political will to improve the lives of these children.
Homeless children have no voice and no constituent power. With low levels of education, many of the mothers are unable to find jobs that paid livable wages. Children experiencing homelessness are among the most invisible and neglected individuals in our nation.
Some requirements needed to reduce these numbers are:
1. Safe affordable housing.
2. Education and employment opportunities.
3. Comprehensive needs assessments of all family members.
4. Services that incorporate trauma-informed care.
5. Identification, prevention and treatment of major depression in mothers.
6. Parenting support for mothers.
7. Research to identify evidence-based programs and services that can help.
Each state is assigned a rank with 1 being best, 50 being worst. Some of the ranking are as follows: Minnesota-1, Nebraska-2-, Massachuesetts-3, Iowa-4, New Jersey-5, Vermont-6, *New Hampshire-7, to Neveda-44, Arizona-45, New Mexico-46, Arkansas-47, California-48, Mississippi-49 and Alabama-50.
*We shouldn't be mislead by New Hampshire's standing. We all know that there are many millionaires and billionaires who live in New Hampshire. Instead of talking about the hidden poor, we might call the super rich among us the hidden wealthy, living in gated communities or compounds. Some, if not most of these family residences are second, third or fourth homes (such as that of the former governor of Massachusetts).
Now for the important questions. Are you going to pressure your elected state and federal representatives to implement programs to change these grim statistics? Or are you just going to be happy that you are not one of the homeless among us? As the old saying goes: There but for the grace of God go I', right? Are we going to be our brother's keeper? Or are we going to stand by and keep letting the One Percenters hoard more of the financial pie? What does your conscience tell you?