Tuesday, March 10, 2009

America's homeless children

Do you know the average age of a homeless person in America today? Try nine years old. And each year an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States will be homeless, with the fastest growing segment being young mothers and children.

I was shocked to read statistics like this in the book No Place at the Table. It is a small book by Fort Wayne's Phyllis Agness aimed at raising awareness for America's homeless children, and it has some powerful photos by Greg Allen. You can download it for only $5, but I recommend the hard copy for $12.95. If you don't think you can afford it - give me your name and address and I'll buy it for you.

I believe the author is connected with the women & children's shelter that our church is providing meals for once a month. I talked today to one of the guys who helped serve them last night. He said he about lost it when, before they ate, one of the ladies prayed and closed by saying, "Thank you, God, that someone cares about us."

Just a little blurb from the introduction of the book:
A bed in which to sleep, food that's fit to eat, a place where they can feel safe... such simplistic dreams, yet they are the dreams of countless children. They are the children who wander from place to place, sleeping in cars and abandoned buildings. They are the children who are afraid to close their eyes for fear that they may wake to find a family member gone. They are the children who have nothing to call their own - no books, pictures, pets, or even friends. They are the children who wear the clothing others do not want. They are the children who cannot concentrate in school because they must concentrate on something much more important - survival. They are the children who have no place to call home, for they are homeless. Their life experiences have taught them that adults are not to be trusted, other children will never accept them, and acting out can hide the humiliation and embarrassment of their reality. They are emotional and social exiles, destined to repeat the plight of their parents - unless someone takes the time to see their hidden hurt and make a difference.

Nine years old...