The American Institutes for Research and The National Center on Family Homelessness came out with a report last week revealing that a staggering 2.5 million children living in the United States are homeless. That’s 1 of every 30 children in America – an 8% increase nationally from 2012 to 2013.
The report ranks all fifty states (and the District of Columbia) according to their performance in four domains related to child homelessness: extent of child homelessness, risk for child homelessness, child well-being, and state policy and planning. As you can see in the infographic below, Washington ranks fairly high in child well-being and policy and planning, but middle-of-pack when it comes to risk factors for homlessness, and low in extent of child homelessness due to our very high number of homeless children.
So, what can we do as people of faith? The report points to the need for safe, affordable housing and for wrap-around services and support for parents and children in order for families to get back on their feet and establish housing stability. This is where the faith community comes in. With a huge shortage of affordable housing, we need landlords willing to take a chance on tenants with higher barriers. We need faith communities and congregations to take the leap and walk with families who are working to transition out of homelessness.
Today, families make up 37% of the homeless population and millions of children are living without stability and without a place to call home. Read the full report to dig deeper into the causes and state of child and family homelessness.
To become part of the solution in King County (if you are or if you know a landlord), find out more about the new One Home Campaign, a local effort to develop new partnerships between nonprofits and landlords to expand housing options for formerly homeless individuals and families. Visit the One Home site at onehomekc.org.