Since the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released their Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) outlining the rates of homelessness over the course of the last year, the media has paid noticeably more attention to both family and youth homelessness. In fact, in just the last 10 days, the Washington Post ran three pieces about homelessness, including a story about the “new face of homelessness,” profiling an African American single mother and her children. (To be frank: not really a new story.)
The McClatchy story presents the family homelessness dynamic from a new angle – looking at the relationship with schools, and the rate at which students are enrolling into nutrition programs. In his article, writer Tony Pugh projects record enrollment – which he interprets as a sign of rising homelessness and financial pressures on families. Nan Roman, president of the Alliance, echoed the writer’s thoughts and agreed the family homelessness may very well keep rising. In fact, the Alliance projects that approximately one million more people may experience homelessness before the economy fully recovers.
Pugh also presented the side of the schools – already struggling under tightened state budgets and trying to accommodate the needy children in their classrooms. Pugh notes that schools receive federal government assistance for nutrition programs servicing children in need, but also noted that the average cost of a school meal was more than the government subsidy per meal. While haggling with the federal government to increase funding for nutrition programs, the schools are trying – in the meantime – to figure out how to keep the nutrition budget in the black and provide for all their students.
You can read the whole article online.