It’s National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

November 13, 2011

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are in some sort of national or Chicago real estate and lucky enough to have a home.

This year, between 2.5 and 3.5 million people will experience homelessness in this country, many of them kids.

Welcome to National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During the week, many communities, cities and schools participate in this nationwide effort to bring awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness.

Here are some stats to get you going.

According to the January 2011 National Alliance to End Homelessness State of Homelessness report, an estimated 14,055 people experience homelessness each night in Illinois.

A one-day census done by the City of Chicago in 2009 found 5,170 people either staying in emergency shelters or living on the streets of Chicago. That included 604 families.

And, none of this accounts for homeless children. According to the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, “Young people living on the street are particularly hard to count because they will rarely admit to being homeless.” A 2005 University of Illinois report on homeless youth funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services found as many as 25,000 homeless Illinois youth.

According to Goldie’s Place, a Chicago-based support center for people who are homeless:

*The average age of a homeless person in the United States is nine years old.

*Families with children are the fastest growing group of the homeless population.

*Many homeless children are alone and homeless, either runaways or “throwaways.”

*Nationally, one in five people in a soup kitchen line is a child.

*Two trends largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years are: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty.

*Stagnant or falling incomes and less secure jobs offering fewer benefits are reasons homelessness persists.

*In Chicago, 22 percent of homeless people are employed.

*Illinois ranks 12th worst in the nation in the gap between income and rental costs.

*22 percent of homeless people are veterans, and there are more homeless veterans today than U.S. soldiers who died in Vietnam.

These are some pretty astonishing facts. I appreciate you reading this, now take it one more step. Click on a link in this article to learn more and see what you can do to help.

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