Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just for a minute, let's look at statistics

I'm not trying to be boring.  Many of us have a hard time absorbing the volumes of statistics and charts generated by all of the organizations trying to help solve homelessness.  I sometimes become a glassy-eyed zombie and immediately begin to feel like Tommy Jefferson (Harry's Law blog post dated 3/21) when he says "it overwhelms me".

So, here's a suggestion:  Quickly read through these numbers.  One of them will stand out to you.  That's all I ask.  Just find ONE that stands out.  Allow it to simmer.  Allow it to percolate in your consciousness and unconsciousness.  Let it come into your mind this week whenever it wants.  Once in a while, make an effort to purposefully bring it to your mind.  Let the number have an impact on you.  Then, next week, or the week after, or maybe even sometime this summer - DO something about it.

From the National Network for Youth
  • 1.6 million children between 12 and 17 years old experience some form of homelessness each year
  • 30% of this total is between 15 and 16 years old
  • 52 % are female
  • 42 % are male (yes, I know that doesn't add up to 100%, but I'm just telling you what I see)
From Campaign to End Child Homelessness
  • 1 in 50 American children can expect to experience homelessness in their lifetime
  • Of the estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million Americans who are homeless each year, 34% are families
  • Within a year, 97% of homeless children moved at least once, at least 25% have witnessed violence and 22% have been separated from their families - separated from their families?!
  • At least half of all homeless children experience anxiety and depression.  Personally I'd be willing to bet that it's nearly all of them... just my opinion though.
  • Over 900,000 children enrolled in schools are homeless.  77% of these children are in grades K-8. And I'm wondering how many homeless children are NOT enrolled? 
  • The average age for a homeless child in Minnesota is 7 (Freeport West, Mpls)
  • Housing characteristics for homeless children: 56% are "doubled-up" sleeping on couches (maybe the floor), 24% are in shelters, 7% in hotels/motels, 10% are in unknown situations (maybe a car) and 3% are sleeping on the street.  How can these kids concentrate on school?
  • Less than 25% of homeless children graduate high school.  How will they ever break this cycle?
The Campaign to End Child Homelessness has a number of reports available to you.  Much of the above information was taken from America's Youngest Outcasts summary report.  They also have an interesting interactive map where you can see how your state is doing compared to the other 49. 

This video is about Teen Homelessness but it's not the only one.  There are tons of them on YouTube.  Maybe this is a better way to encourage people to feel and experience.  Music and video works for a lot of us.

And a reminder:  Responsible Referrals is trying to do something.  If you or someone you know is thinking about buying or selling real estate, let them know that we are in the business of finding great agents.  There is no cost and they'll be helping homeless children by making the call. 

NEXT POST:  Stigmatized Property

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