Department of Education: Early Childhood Homelessness

1/3 of people who stayed in a shelter were families with children

Young children experiencing homelessness

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - We have new data about the number of young children experiencing homelessness.

A newly released study from the Department of Education is providing perspective, broken down by each state. In 2016, about a third of people who stayed in a shelter were families with children.

The findings in this report are really interesting as you think about the reality of children younger than six years old growing up without a stable place to call home. According to the Department of Education, nearly half of children served by HUD funded emergency and transitional housing providers were five or younger.

Babies under the age of one make up less than 6% of the overall child population in the country, yet those babies account for nearly 10% of children in HUD funded shelters. In Indiana, more than 17,000 children younger than six experienced homelessness.

That is 3% of the state’s young kids or one in 29 children. The study notes that early childhood experiences with homelessness have long lasting impacts on a their well-being.

Access to educational services can help reduce some of these negative effects. But in Indiana, only about a thousand of those homeless kids are in federally funded early childhood education programs.

As we have reported, families experiencing homelessness often face barriers to affordable housing. A reported 28% of children under six are in low-income working families in Indiana.

Recognizing this is where local HUD offices can step in to help these families get the funding they are eligible to receive.

In Kentucky, nearly 27,000 children younger than six experienced homelessness. That is 8% of the state’s young kids or one in 12 children.

In Kentucky, less than 2,000 of those homeless kids are in federally funded early childhood education programs. A reported 29% of children under six are in low-income working families in Kentucky.

Of course since the study is broken down by state there are Illinois numbers included. Nearly 50,000 children younger than six experienced homelessness in the state.

Copyright 2019 WFIE. All rights reserved.