In 2014, The American Institute for Research in conjunction with The National Center on Family Homelessness released a study that concluded that one in 50 American children were homeless. That’s about 2.5 million homeless kids across our nation. So imagine walking into your child’s classroom at school and knowing that at least one may be homeless. If you have a child in Pre-K, kindergarten, first or second grade the likelihood is even greater as more than half of the homeless children in America are six years of age and younger.
The cause of this level of homelessness is because so many families are living on the edge of poverty, that one little setback can push them into the abyss of homelessness.
In the Coastal region, an average 15.2 percent of our population live below the poverty level. This rate ranges from 9.8 percent in Effingham County, to a high of 27.3 percent in Tattnall County.
Other counties’ numbers:
Bulloch County - 24.6 percent, Brantley County -19 percent, Bryan County - 10.4 percent , Camden County - 12.5 percent, Charlton County - 25.6 percent, Chatham County - 16.3 percent, Effingham - 9.8 percent Glynn County - 17 percent, Liberty County - 16.8 percent, Long County - 19.1 percent, McIntosh County - 19.5 percent, Tattnall County - 27.3 percent, and Wayne County - 20.2 percent
The number of homeless students in Liberty County stood at 255 children at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. The total number of homeless children in Georgia during the same time period stood at 38,754.
Many of these children do not receive assistance through the local school systems. These numbers do not include the 45 percent of homeless children who do not attend school.
During the last report issued by the Georgia Department of Education, (2016-2017) the coastal counties reported the following number of homeless children in their care: Bulloch - 238, Brantley - 65, Bryan -177, Camden - 62, Charlton - 69, Chatham - 749, Effingham - 135, Glynn - 257, Liberty - 223, Long - 19, McIntosh - 71, Tattnall - 50, Wayne - 141.
During the 2017-2018 school year, the number reported by Liberty County is 255. Across the state, the total number of homeless students reached 38,474.
Now why am I placing such an emphasis on homeless children? It’s quite simple, they are the ones most affected within a homeless family. Kids are often the collateral damage.
They are chronically hungry, tired and stressed. Forty percent of those old enough to attend school exhibit mental health issues, they suffer from illnesses at a higher rate and they often struggle academically. Imagine kids having to deal with PTSD. Homeless children are at a higher risk of being victims of domestic violence or exploitation.
Overall, they are more disadvantaged, not only academically but socially as well.
The Liberty Regional Homeless Coalition has made it a priority to help these students, by working with school systems in our region, and to provide school uniforms and clothing as well as supplies for the coming school year.
You can help the Coalition by donating new or used school clothing by calling us at 912-271-3192.
Or you can drop off your donation at one of the 22 locations accepting donations.
All clothing will be distributed by the schools only.
Liberty Regional Homeless Coalition President