Facts on Family Homelessness
- How many homeless children are there nationally?
The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that there are approximately 1.5 million homeless children in the United States and homeless families make up 34% of the homeless population.
- How many homeless children are living in the Columbia area?
The 2011 Homeless Count conducted by the Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless (MACH) identified 1,621 homeless individuals in Columbia and the surrounding area and reported that 25% were in families with children.
- Do homeless children attend school?
In 2010, Richland County School District One identified 1,093 homeless students attending their schools and the South Carolina Department of Education identified 10,820 homeless students in schools across the state.
Based on test scores, the National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that the high school graduation rate for homeless children in South Carolina is less than 25%.
- Who experiences homelessness?
While many people still hold onto the stereotype of the homeless as a man in dirty clothing standing on the corner with a backpack or shopping cart, families with children are often considered to be the “hidden homeless.” In fact, the National Coalition for the Homeless reports that families are one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population in the United States and nearly half of homeless children are under the age of six.
- Why do families become homeless?
Lack of affordable housing, low wages, domestic violence, physical and mental health issues, and substance abuse are some of the main reasons people become homeless. In Columbia, a full-time worker needs to earn $14.29 per hour or work 79 hours per week at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.