Earlier this year, at the 2016 National Conference on Ending Homelessness, the Alliance proposed several goals for our nation to consider as it continues to work toward the common goal of ending homelessness. One of those goals was to end homelessness for children. That means if children and their families lose their housing, they will very quickly return to housing. It also includes us doing a better job of preventing them from becoming homeless in the first place.
November 29, Giving Tuesday, is an opportunity for us all to support the causes we believe in by joining a global movement. On this day of giving we reflect back on the previous year, and look forward to how we can collectively strengthen our communities and improve the lives of children and families.
This year, on a single night, 120,819 children were homeless. More than half of these children were under the age of five.
Given the statistics, we at the Alliance decided to take a hard look at what it really means for a child to have a home. The answer may seem obvious, but the experience of homelessness affects so many aspects of a child’s life: from health, to education, to their overall development, and their sense of community and safety.
When factored together, these impacts can make it tough for children to succeed.
We wanted to hear more from children themselves and so we asked kids across the country to draw us a picture of what ‘home’ means to them. What you will see in these drawings is the pure happiness that children associate with home. The simple things that most of us take for granted: having a pet, having a place to do homework, putting up a Christmas tree, or even just playing outside.
These pictures make it very easy to see what the safety and security of a home means to a child. And the important takeaway is that we have it within our ability to make the simple dreams associated with home, come true.
Every child deserves to have a place to live. And no child deserves to have his or her future compromised because of homelessness. Not when we know that homes end homelessness.
Ending homelessness – for children, families and for all populations – is not something that any one of us can do alone. But it is something that we can do by working together and we need your help.
This holiday season, we ask you to share the stories of children who have experienced homeless and let people know that we can end it. We also encourage you to help us close out the year by supporting our work on Giving Tuesday, November 29. When you donate on Giving Tuesday your gift will go twice as far, thanks to a generous match from one of our board members.
The pieces are in place, and the effort is underway. We now need you to help us make it happen. Please, share the story of these children and let people know that we can end homelessness.