The Truth on Children’s Homelessness
When it comes to addressing child homelessness in our state, how does Indiana compare to the rest of the country? Well, truth be known, not so good. The number of homeless children in our nation has reached an historic high, climbing from 1 out of every 50 back in 2010 to 1 in every 30 by the end of 2013! In fact, from 2010 to 2013, Indiana experienced a 17% increase in child homelessness! And, although the extent of child homelessness is lower in our state than most, sadly, our Mid-western, “all-about-family” state ranks 38 out of 50 for the number of children who are at risk for homelessness! 1= Best and 50 = Worst.
In other words, should the trend continue, we will most likely see homeless families and their children on the streets of Indianapolis in 2016!
So what is Indiana doing to address child homelessness? Not much. When homelessness strikes, there are very few places for the family to turn to for help. It is hard to believe that there are no more family emergency shelters today then there were 25 years ago! In fact, from the six emergency shelters in central Indiana who will shelter children, only three can accommodate a traditional family – mom, dad and children – no more than 50 families on any given night! Dayspring Center has been a witness to the significant increases in family homelessness. For the last two years, the Center has received 200-300 calls a month from families we could not help because we did not have a room available. The shelters that have managed to stay open for the last 25 years are severely under-resourced and getting little to no help from the state. In fact, Indianapolis is the ONLY city of its size that does not receive any funding from the state or city to address the problem of family homelessness.
So what can be done? Lots. With appropriate services and access to resources for homeless families, WE can change the trend and help hundreds of homeless families permanently overcome homelessness.
Advocate: Few realize the seriousness of family homelessness in our state. Share what you know with friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Write your congressman to help alter state policy on family homelessness. Give a voice to the homeless children.
Get Involved: Volunteer, coordinate drives with your church, office or children’s school, serve on a board for an agency, join a committee, etc. Human capital is a valuable resource for service providers, like Dayspring Center.
Invest in “Family”: It is only through the generosity of others that Dayspring is able to provide vital services that not only keep “families” together but also give them the strength and determination to overcome their homelessness. When you make a financial gift to Dayspring Center, you help to empower families! As little as $15 a month-the average cost of one dinner at a local restaurant – could change the course of a homeless family’s life and give their children a better future. Click here to donate and invest in Indy’s families.
Excerpts from America’s Youngest Outcasts, prepared by The National Center on Family Homelessness.