In 2014, The American Institute for Research in conjunction with The National Center on Family Homelessness released a study that concluded the one in 10 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 and under.
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 Liberty County 17.7 percent of our population lives below the poverty level. That’s 11,540 people. In Long County the rate is 17.9 percent, or 3,063 people. In Tattnall County, to our west, the poverty level is 29.2 percent for 7,365 people.
All this adds up to 21,968 people in our three-county region are in need of help of some type.
The number of homeless students in Liberty County stood at 245 children at the end of the 2016-17 school year. The total number of families receiving assistance through the schools was 185. These numbers do not include the 45 percent of homeless children who do not attend school.
Now why am I placing such an emphases on the 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 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 the 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 912-318-8875.
Or you can drop off your donation at one of the 22 locations accepting donations.
All clothing will be distributed by the schools only.
Locations accepting donations
Century 21/Action Reality 123 Gen. Screven Way, Hinesville.
Coastal Family Counseling, 150 Butler St. D-3, (Midway Mall), Midway.
Diversity Health Center, 303 Fraser Drive, Hinesville,
Diversity Health Center. 502 Gen. Stewart Way, Hinesville.
Diversity Health Center, 213 N. McDonald St., Ludowici.
Realty Executive Liberty, 401 S. Main St. Hinesville.
Food Lion Grocery Store of Hinesville, 2389 W. Hwy. 196.
GeoVista Credit Union, West Oglethorpe Hwy.
GeoVista Credit Union, Fort Stewart Branch.
The Heritage Bank Main Office, South Main St. Hinesville.
The Heritage Bank, Walmart Branch W. Oglethorpe Hwy.
The Heritage Bank, Midway Branch.
The Heritage Bank, Ludowici Branch, Hwy. 84, Ludowici.
Hinesville City Hall, 115 MLK Dr.
Liberty County Courthouse Annex 112 N. Main St., Hinesville.
Liberty County East End Service Center.
Liberty County Justice Center, Sheriff’s Office, 201 S. Main St., Hinesville.
Riceboro City Hall, 4614 S. Coastal Hwy.
Exit Team Realty 576 W Oglethorpe Hwy., Hinesville.
Walthourville City Hall. 222 Busbee Rd.
Work Source Georgia, 140 E. MLK Dr., Hinesville.
— Liberty Regional Homeless Coalition