Tough Lessons for Homeless Kids

If you thought paying attention in class was difficult when you were young, imagine how difficult it is for local children that do not get enough sleep, food, or study time due to their family’s homelessness.  In recent months, local nonprofits have seen a rise in family homelessness in our region.  This increase is distressing because the stress on the family caused by homelessness creates ripple effects on children’s ability to learn and develop, which could impact their long-term success.

MSNBC wrote an incredibly insightful article that looks at the issue from a national perspective, but the problems described in the article are also visible here at home. 

“Homeless children are confronted daily by extremely stressful and traumatic experiences that have profound effects on their cognitive development and ability to learn,” said Ellen Bassuk, a Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor and president of the nonprofit National Center on Family Homelessness. “They tend to have high rates of developmental delays, learning difficulties and emotional problems as a product of precarious living situations and extreme poverty.”

Programs like the upcoming Project Homeless Connect, on April 4th, are designed to help families access the resources they need more efficiently and get them back on their feet quicker.  In addition, agency programs and special initiatives, like the United Way Needy Schools Funds, are available to address some of these needs.

However, with the number of homeless families continuing to grow, local agencies need your help.  If you would like to learn more about how to help in our community, contact us a youngleaders@uwca.org.

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