By Julia Galperin
Homelessness among children is a crisis and is way more common than many think. However, not many politicians and lawmakers are giving this problem the attention it deserves. Here are the statistics to show how bad this situation is:
In 2019 San-Diego county had at least 1552 homeless youth, which was 12% of all homeless people and more than veterans at 10% and families at 3% according San-Diego Youth Services. In all US the numbers are much higher.
-For youth ages 12 to 17 from about 1.6-1.7 million oner a year. About 300,000-400,000 children may be homeless on a single day.
-About 200,000 children under the age of 18 and thousands of 18-24 year olds are homeless for at least one day during the year.
-29% of homeless youth are reported to abuse substances
-69% of homeless youth have mental health issues
-50% of homeless youth have been in juvenile system/jail
According to these statistics, we can see that the numbers are very high. Homeless children experience multiple health problems- malnutrition, mental illness, wounds and skin infections. Basic sense of safety is absent. Homelessness is causing children to go down the wrong path(ie. drugs, jail, etc). One major risk that is causing these children to make wrong choices is the lack of a high school diploma which also will cause problems in the future when these children try to apply for jobs. These children are vulnerable and too young to have to provide for themselves. Think about everything they have to afford: food, a home, clothing, toys, etc.
We all need to start contributing to this cause and start helping as much as we can. Even little things help. For instance, I decided to create fun packages for children who experience homelessness and are in Jewish Family Service Parking Lot program. The fun packages included things like yo-yos, slime, notepads, crayons, etc. While these are not essentials, it allows the children to experience some fun in their life!