The good news is that Massachusetts ranked #3 in the nation when it comes to addressing and managing the issue of homeless children. Only Minnesota and Nebraska outperformed the Bay State.
The bad news is that there were over 31,500 Massachusetts children who experienced homelessness at some point last year (2013). That’s up 11% since 2010-2011.
The problem is worse when the national numbers are examined. Over 2,5 million children – that’s 1 in 30 – were homeless during 2013.
America’s Youngest Outcasts, a report prepared by The National Center on Family Homelessness, ranks the 50 states on how they are addressing child homelessness from best (1) to worst (50).
Major causes on child homelessness in the U.S. include: (1) the nation’s high poverty rate; (2) a lack of affordable housing across the nation; (3) the continuing impacts of the Great Recession; (4) racial disparities; (5) the challenges of single parenting; and (6) the ways in which traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence, precede and prolong homelessness for families.
Effective solutions must combine safe, affordable housing with essential services. Family members should be comprehensively assessed to understand what services they need. Parents may require education, job training, transportation, and childcare, and may also need mental health and parenting supports. All services should incorporate a family-oriented, trauma-informed approach.
To read the full report and find out where your state ranks, please visit www.HomelessChildrenAmerica.org.