LA Highest Rate of Homeless Children

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - 11:09am

A new report released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness found there are more than 200,000 children below the age of twelve that are homeless in Louisiana.

"Just because we don’t see homeless families on the street it doesn't mean they're not out there in the homes of relatives, in shelters, and in motels" Lafayette Parish School System Homeless Children Education Program supervisor, Patsy Williams, said Tuesday.

Willliams says the number of homeless children in the area continues to grow.

"March, April, and May are usually our slow months, but we are registering an average of four or five families per day," Williams said.

An even more alarming statistic, according to the report, 1 in 28 children in the state don't know where their next meal will come from.

"It affects their academics, it affects their emotional and social growth,” Williams said.

Finding affordable housing continues to be a growing problem for families.

"In Louisiana there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing. Public assisted housing is becoming a luxury for people that live in poverty, " Williams said.

Leaving more children without the luxury of having a home. The McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act was created to strengthen the rights of homeless children.

" I think the life a homeless children is a very secrative life most children don't go to go to school and tell their friends about their situation. We want homeless children to blend in as much as possible so they look like everybody else, "Williams said.

While you may not see them they are still there. The report shows Louisiana ranks at the top for the extent of homeless children in the state and near the top for a child's risk for becoming homeless.

"If anyone asks for home or assistance just know that it’s really needed, " Williams said.

To donate to homeless children in Acadiana, you can contact any of the following:

Lafayette Parish School System’s Homeless Children/Youth Program:
Patsy Williams: (337) 521-7175

Families Helping Families:

(337) 984-3458

Acadiana Outreach Center:

(337) 235-1559

Faith House

(337) 267-9422

Family promise

(337) 233-3447