Truth about Homelessness

A lot of numbers go into trying to calculate who is homeless.  Different sources have different ways of sampling the population and identifying homeless individuals.  One of the issues that we run into when trying to share this information is the word self-identified. Many of the statistics rely on a family to identify as homeless.  But there are lots of families that are not living independently and do not have a permanent home who don’t think of themselves as homeless.  They aren’t living in their car or on the street or in a shelter but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t homeless. They may be staying with friends for a few months or jumping between relatives’ houses.  This is especially true of families where the parent(s) are young people. So, please remember that the population of homeless families is likely larger than the numbers show.

Have you ever really thought about what it means to be a homeless family?  Families wake up without knowing where they will sleep that night.  Moms and Dads go to work every day and they don’t know how they’ll feed their children dinner that night.  Children can’t invite their friends over to play or to do homework.

New Hampshire Public Schools identified 3,350 homeless students during the 2015-16 school year.  This figure does not include children too young to be enrolled in school. Seventy-five percents of homeless children in New Hampshire are in “doubled up” situations where they are living with family members or friends.

The impacts of homelessness on children are clear.  With each school change, a child suffers an educational setback of 3-6 months. Homeless children have lower standardized test scores, lower participation in extracurricular activities, and have lower graduation rates.  Homeless children often have behavioral issues and can suffer social and psychological effects that can last for years. With your help, we can help these children and their families reach sustainable independence.