Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our National Shame

The increasing numbers of children living in poverty and the corresponding rise in the number of homeless families with children in our country is one of the dirty secrets left undiscussed in this ugly election season.

Homeless in Utah:

The lingering recession has taken a toll on Utah’s youngest residents, leading to a 48 percent increase in the number of homeless school-age children since 2008, according to state data released Wednesday.

That's pretty dramatic. The number of school aged homeless children has nearly doubled in 2 years. It's not a campaign issue. No one is talking about it. There's more outrage being expressed about Juan Williams getting fired by NPR.

In Nebraska:

The number of homeless students in Nebraska public schools increased 26 percent in the past school year as the limping economy forced more parents into shelters or other temporary living arrangements.

Schools reported 2,210 homeless students last school year, or 458 more than the year before, according to the Nebraska Department of Education.

The Omaha Public Schools reported 661 homeless students last year, an increase of more than 20 percent.

In Colorado:

School District 51 identified 500 homeless children last year, and already 275 students have been identified the first quarter — “substantially higher than it's ever been at this time of year,” said prevention services coordinator Cathy Haller.

“We estimate (based on national statistics) at any given time there's another 20 percent (100 kids) not enrolled who should be,” Haller said.

Worst of all is this report on homeless children from the group First Focus:

Analysis of recently released federal data shows that the number of homeless children and youth identified in public schools has increased for the second year in a row, and by 41% over the past two school years.

You'd think this would make headlines.
You'd be wrong.

Seven states saw a decrease in the number of homeless school-aged children. The remaining 43 states saw increases. In some cases the increases were huge. Iowa saw a 136 % increase.

Finally, there's this PBS story about homeless children. It will make you weep.

It's shameful that this isn't even a topic in our upcoming elections. It's shameful that we aren't ashamed.

cross-posted at MainSt/

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