To follow up on a story aired last March about the sharp increases in child poverty, 60 Minutes last night continued its “Hard Times Generation” theme with a piece about homeless families living in cars in Seminole County, Florida.
Recently revised Census numbers show the child poverty rate hovering around 17 to 21%. Research shows that even housing insecurity–a step before homelessness–puts children at risk for poor health and developmental delays. A program in Seminole County schools, Families in Transition, is trying to help homeless children and their families by working with 50 partners in the community. Beth Davalos, a social worker with Families in Transition, said:
“The longevity of homelessness continues to rise, so people are running out of resources. The unemployment runs out. Their savings run out. The family that lent them money does not have it anymore ’cause they’re looking at economic hardship. And before you know it they find themselves living in their car because they ran out of all options.”
Watch the full 60 Minutes piece here:
Last night, 60 Minutes reported on the sharp increase of children living in poverty with a story titled, “Homeless Children: The Hard Times Generation.” Census data showed that 47.8 million Americans–15.7% of the U.S. population–lived in poverty in 2009 [see our related post, “Revised Census Numbers Show More Americans Living in Poverty”].
We know that there is a widening income gap between high-income and middle-class families, and we also know that poverty can suppress a child’s potential to excel. As we have seen in our experiences, poverty creates stress for children and can impede their ability to thrive in school. As the children in story explain, it’s hard to study at home when the electricity has been turned off.
From the story:
The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.