Kids Brains CAN’T Handle Homelessness

great article over at

by Josie Raymond October 28, 2010

Homelessness can wreak havoc on the adult brain, causing mental disorders like depression and post traumatic stress disorder in addition to being caused by them. Imagine what going without stable shelter does to the developing minds of young children.

In fact, one in three homeless kids has a mental health problem that affects their functioning by age 8. Long before that, though, 75 percent of kids 4 and under have developmental delays while about 40 percent of them have emotional and/or behavioral problems. What school teachers think is a problem child might just be a child with problems, a child who is homeless.

Why? Take your pick of reasons: stress, depression, fear, hunger, sleep-deprivation, or a parent who’s so stressed, depressed, scared, hungry or sleep-deprived to give kids the care and attention they need. President Obama’s federal plan pledges to end family homelessness by 2020. Make sure it happens!

Many people don’t realize how many children are homeless, relying instead on the stereotype of the grizzled homeless veteran to distance themselves from the issue. But the average homeless family is made up of a single woman in her 20s and two children, at least one of whom is under age 5. The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that 1.5 million children are homeless at some point each year. (I’ve got a feeling the number is even higher in recent recession years.)

There’s also evidence that homelessness can be a generational cycle. About a quarter of adults who are currently homeless were also homeless as children. Don’t let it persist for another generation. Tell your representatives every chance you get to make the Federal Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness a reality.

Photo credit: Capture Queen


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