Florida ranks 42/50 in child homelessness
According to a report recently released by The National Center on Family Homelessness, Florida has one of the worst rates of child homelessness in the country. In fact, on a scale of 1-50 (1 being the best; 50 being the worst), Florida ranked 42nd, which is only a slight improvement from last year’s 43rd position. The rankings are based on data and research from 2006-2010 and take into account the extent of child homelessness, child well-being, risk for homelessness, and state policy and planning efforts.
The revealing 124-page study, America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010, recounts that more than 1.6 million children are homeless annually in America, a 38% increase from 2007 to 2010. The streets of Florida were home to nearly 84,000 of these children in 2010. “There are more homeless children today than after the natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which caused historic levels of homelessness in 2006,” stated Ellen Bassuck, MD, President and Founder of The National Center on Family Homelessness and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Homelessness can foster a myriad number of problems for children, such as low self-esteem, behavioral problems, poor social skills, and stigmas about homelessness. In addition, the report highlights that “children experiencing homelessness in America suffer from hunger and poor physical and emotional health, as well as limited academic proficiency in reading and math.” Coalition for the Homeless recognizes these unique struggles faced by children experiencing homelessness.
The Coalition is the largest residential facility for children in Central Florida. On any given night, we serve over 250 children with an average age of eight years old. Because of the growing number of children calling the Coalition “home,” numerous services specifically designed for kids are available.