There is nothing more challenging in life than trying to survive in this world without a home. Homelessness of children known to child protection agencies defies all we know about the need for consistency and appropriate structure for children (Mignon, 2015, p. 96).
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Unstable housing is one of the major contributing factors, as to why families become connected with child welfare agencies (Mignon, 2015). In January 2014, about 578,424 individuals were classified as being homeless throughout the United States, which makes up a good portion of the homeless population (Mignon, 2015). Homelessness for children results from living in hunger, poverty and health problems than other children with housing stability (Mignon, 2015). Homelessness of families results from poverty, affordable housing and family violence (Mignon, 2015). In 2015, the Federal Government provided 4.5 billion in aid which was distributed amongst various agencies to address homelessness, but it was not enough to meet the need (Mignon, 2015).
My parents had always financially equipped me with great quality resources, such as cash allowance, clothes, electronics, food, shelter, etc. Growing up, I didn’t really understand what the word homelessness meant and why individuals become homeless. I had been close-minded on the topic for so many years because my parents had given me their perception of what it meant to be homeless. When families had failed to provide themselves with basic needs, such as food, clothing, nurture, and shelter, then it was simply out of pure laziness and not working hard enough in life. Also, those who are homeless have a lack of education and didn’t take theirs seriously. The negative perception that my parents had instilled into me on homeless people would go on to how I would define them in life through various instances.
In the fall of 2004, I came across a female by the name of Olivia at a park in East Newark, New Jersey (where I live). Olivia had clothes on that had multiple holes and stains in them. Her sneakers also didn’t match, one looking newer than the other sneaker did. Also, Olivia’s skin had looked like it hadn’t been washed for days, it had looked decomposed. When I had approached Olivia and asked her why she wore clothes that aren’t really appropriate to wear in public, Olivia replied by saying: these are the only clothes I have, my parents and I are homeless. Olivia also stated that her family sleeps under a bridge in Harrison, New Jersey, as well as staying in numerous shelters.
This was the first time that the word homelessness was introduced to me, and I completely felt sorry that Olivia was living under such harsh conditions. When I had approached my parents about this matter, they both had told me that being homeless is looked down upon by society in a shameful way,
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