Homeless Families Problem In NYC A ‘Man Made Disaster’ | New York , New York | New York Daily News
Christmas is beautiful in New York, so much so that thousands of people from all over the world flock here to spend the most joyous of holidays.
But for the nearly 50,000 homeless children in this city, Christmas in New York is more Charles Dickens than “Miracle on 34th Street.”
Even worse, New York is not the only place in the country where thousands of children do not have a home this holiday season. Defying all logic, in the U.S., one of the richest nations on Earth, more than 1.6 million children — one in 45 — live in cars, motels or homeless shelters over the course of any given year.
That is the heartbreaking reality revealed Monday in a 124-page report, America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010, by The National Center on Family Homelessness, an organization whose sole purpose is to end homelessness for children and families in America.
The report ranks the 50 states from best to worst. New York State, ranked at number 45, has little, if anything, to be proud of.
The report arrived at the rankings using four different criteria: the percentage of homeless children; their overall well-being; their risk for homelessness, and the states’ response to these problems.
At the national level the new numbers represent an increase of 38% in child homelessness between 2007 and 2010, the years impacted by the economic recession.
“The recession has been a man-made disaster for vulnerable children,” said Dr. Ellen Bassuk, the center’s president and founder and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She added a hard-to-believe, but sadly accurate piece of information:
“There are more homeless children today than after the natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which caused historic levels of homelessness in 2006,” Bassuk said.
For the purposes of the report, a “homeless” child is any child 18 or younger living with at least one parent or caregiver in emergency shelters, motels, cars, campgrounds and the like due to economic hardships or losing their own homes.
The impact of this tragedy is far-reaching. The report finds that homeless children in America also suffer from hunger and poor physical and emotional health as well as limited academic proficiency in reading and math.