Posts tagged ‘Homeless in America’

November 5, 2012

“There are about 5-6 million homeless children in America”

“There are about 5-6 million homeless children in America”

Diane Nilan is the founder and president of the foundation helping the homeless families HEAR US Inc. She has over 25 years experience working with impoverished and homeless families including directing the shelter at Hesed House in Aurora for 13 years. In 2005, Nilan formed a national non-profit organization, HEAR US Inc., to call attention to the hidden issue of homeless families and youth. She also travels across the country to meet and help the people in need.

Simeon Gasparov

– Mrs. Nilan some of the experts say that the existence of the homeless families in the U.S. is the best kept secret in the country. Is this true?

– This is a very true statement. Often when I ask someone how do you picture the homeless, 90% say it is a mentally ill person, or someone who is addicted to drugs.
This is the image that our society has about the homeless. Surely, this is the image that the politicians in this country have for them. Because of this, many homeless families remain invisible in America. On the other hand, they do not dare to speak out publicly about their homelessness, because are afraid their children not to be taken away.

– How many are the homeless children in the U.S.?

– According to statistics, there are over 1 million children of school age. But actually maybe 2 million. Besides, with the addition of the children who are not in a school age, I would not be surprised if there are about 5-6 million homeless children in America.

– Why are there so many homeless children and families?

– Because during the 80’s, the government stopped subsidizing housing for the poor. The drastic cuts in funds had a devastating effect on those who needed housing. The market prices jumped and the rents for more than 20 years are going up. The people could not afford to pay the high rents. Furthermore, the lack of jobs and low wages also influence this process. Other reasons to have families without shelters, are the natural disasters, such as the Hurricane Katrina, for example. Once you find yourself in this situation, it is very hard to move up.

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