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  • November 2009
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National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

National Hunger and Homelessness

Awareness Week (NHHAW “nah-haw”)

November 15-21, 2009

Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, a number of schools, communities and cities take part in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness.

-National Coalition for the Homeless

nythomelessness

Hunger and Homelessness in the United States: What does this have to do with you?

Teens and children are arguably the ones who suffer the most from hunger and homelessness.

  • Of these 36.2 million individual living in food insecure households, 23.8 million are adults (10.6 percent of all adults) and 12.4 million are children (16.9 percent of all children).

  • In 2003, children under the age of 18 accounted for 39% of the homeless population; 42% of these children were under the age of five (National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2004). This same study found that unaccompanied minors comprised 5% of the urban homeless population. However, in other cities and especially in rural areas, the numbers of children experiencing homelessness are much higher.

On October 25, 2009, Ian Urbina wrote an article in the NY Times entitled Recession Drives Surge in Youth Runaways. I have included an excerpt below:

“Several times a month we’re seeing kids being left by parents who say they can’t afford them anymore,” said Mary Ferrell, director of the Maslow Project, a resource center for homeless children and families in Medford. With fewer jobs available, teenagers are less able to help their families financially. Relatives and family friends are less likely to take them in.

While federal officials say homelessness over all is expected to rise 10 percent to 20 percent this year, a federal survey of schools showed a 40 percent increase in the number of juveniles living on their own last year, more than double the number in 2003.

At the same time, however, many financially troubled states began sharply cutting social services last year. Though President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package includes $1.5 billion to address the problem of homelessness, state officials and youth advocates say that almost all of that money will go toward homeless families, not unaccompanied youths.

Now that you know: What you can do?

  • Donate to your local food bank

  • Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter

  • Start a social justice group at your school

  • Don’t look away the next time you see someone down on his or her luck

So…What are you going to do?

NHHAW Countdown: 9 days

*Statistics for this post were from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Food Research and Action Center.

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