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Today is 12.11.2016

More Children Are Homeless, Say St. Charles County Area Advocates | St. Charles County , Missouri | STLToday.com

Advocates for homeless people in St. Charles County say that the problem is growing for families and that children are suffering.
They want people to picture a boy who gets bullied because the school bus picks him up at a hotel, where he shares a room with his parents and his sisters. Or a girl who has had to switch schools so many times that her learning disability has gone undiagnosed. Or siblings who have to sleep on the couch after moving in to grandma’s house, where finances are already spread thin and family tension is getting thicker.
On Thursday, advocates will talk about the increasing numbers of homeless families, at a forum in St. Peters called “The Changing Face of Homelessness.” The event is organized by the Community Council of St. Charles County, an umbrella organization for more than 180 nonprofits.
Nearly half of the homeless in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties are under 18 years old, according to the council. The number of homeless people living in shelters, hotels or on the streets has remained fairly steady at just over 1,000, but the number of homeless students and those “doubled up” or living with other families has increased dramatically.
In 2008, 96 children were living in shelters, hotels, on the streets, or with family or friends. This year, there are 435 such children, a 353 percent increase.
In 2010, 762 people were living with other families; that number has more than doubled, to 1,527, this year.
Dottie Kastigar of the Community Council says people living with friends or relatives may work for a while, but soon their welcome gets worn out.
“Then they start appearing at the door of social service agencies,” she said. “Depending whether they get help or not, then they have to stay in their cars or hotels in the community.”