Homeless children – More than just a number

youngest outcasts

A recent study by the National Center on Family Homelessness, America’s Youngest Outcasts, shed light on some very sobering numbers. There are currently 2.5 million homeless children in our nation, up 8 percent over last year. Sadly, 1 out of every 30 kids in our great nation has no place to call home.

The study also ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on four factors: the extent of the problem, the well-being of the children, risks for family homelessness and state policy efforts. Florida ranks 33rd in the nation, with 1 being the best and 50 being the worst, up from a ranking of 42 just two years ago.

Here in Central Florida, we have some disturbing numbers as well. Heart of Florida United Way estimates that 6,000 children are homeless: 3,000 in Orange County, and 1,500 each in Seminole and Osceola counties.

What do these numbers mean for us? Here at the Coalition, the reality is that we are full every night of the week. We provide shelter and food for more than 600 people daily, including 150 children, yet have a waiting list of families and single adults who desperately need help.

We know the statistics, but these children are more than just a number. We see these kids every day, napping in our daycare, practicing their letters in VPK, and doing their homework after school at the Boys & Girls Club.

We greet moms and dads every morning as they’re pushing their little ones down the halls. We know their stories. We share in their struggles and in their successes. And while we dream of a day when the need for the shelter, food and services we provide is no longer there, right now, our being here to serve our homeless neighbors is absolutely critical.

That’s why we are so grateful to our volunteers, donors, and community partners. Together, we’ll work to see these numbers decrease. We are the Coalition.