How many children are homeless in America?

Children staying at the Coalition, like the two youngsters pictured above, are among the estimated 1.5 million children in America who will experience homelessness this year.

1.5 MILLION = the number of children in America who go to sleep without a home each year

1 in 50 = an American child’s chances of experiencing homelessness in their lifetime

America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, a report by the National Center on Family Homelessness, offers a snapshot view of child homelessness in America and a summary of the unique needs of homeless children.

Some disturbing statistics pulled directly from the National Center’s report:

  • Hunger: Children without homes are twice as likely to experience hunger as other children. Two-thirds worry they won’t have enough to eat. More than one-third of homeless children report being forced to skip meals.
  • Health: Homelessness makes children sick. Children who experience homelessness are more than twice as likely as middle class children to have moderate to severe acute and chronic health problems.
  • Education: Homeless children are twice as likely as other children to repeat a grade in school, to be expelled or suspended, or to drop out of high school. At the end of high school, few homeless students are proficient in reading and math – and their estimated graduation rate is below 25%.

In addition, the report claims that homeless children “endure a lack of safety, comfort, privacy, reassuring routines, adequate health care, uninterrupted schooling, sustaining relationships, and a sense of community. These factors combine to create a life-altering experience that inflicts profound and lasting scars.”

As the largest residential facility for children in Central Florida, the Coalition couldn’t agree more with the statement above. We know that the nearly 200 children we serve with their parents each night experience needs beyond mere housing.

If homeless children face far-reaching obstacles, it is imperative to provide programs and policies that address their needs. The Coalition offers a range of services to address the unique needs of children: in addition to providing food and safe shelter for children and their families; the Coalition offers a fully-licensed day care and a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program to prepare children for school; an on-site Boys and Girls Club; tutoring from Orange County Public Schools; individual and group counseling; and Art By Coalition Children (ABCs), an arts program that helps children explore their world and express themselves in a healthy way. To learn more about the Coalition’s programs for children and how they address the unique needs of this vulnerable population, visit our website.

Stay tuned for more Coalition blog posts in our mini-series about homeless children!