Lest there be any doubt that the economic recovery hasn't been much
of an economic recovery:
The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation's high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence.
Titled "America's Youngest Outcasts," the report being issued Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness calculates that nearly 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013. The number is based on the Department of Education's latest count of 1.3 million homeless children in public schools, supplemented by estimates of homeless pre-school children not counted by the DOE.
And to our Republican friends who, if they notice at all, will respond with their usual recipe of tax and benefit cuts, you don't get children off the streets or out of shelters by punishing their parents. You give them direct relief, and you create jobs. Directly. Because making the rich richer never trickles down. The rich have been getting richer, and wealth disparity
is at levels unseen since the Great Depression, and the result is 1 in 30 children experiencing homelessness.
The specific recommendations (pdf) from the National Center on Family Homelessness
Effective responses to child homelessness must include:
- Safe, affordable housing.
- Comprehensive needs assessments of all family members.
- Family-oriented services that incorporate trauma-informed care.
- Identification, prevention, and treatment of major depression in mothers.
- Parenting supports for mothers.
- Education and employment opportunities for parents.
- Further research to identify evidence-based programs and services for children and families.
The full reports can be found here
Private markets are not going to provide this kind of help. Only government can. And only if the public demands that government do it. What kind of society do we want? What kind of people do we want to be?
And Governor Brown?
The problem is particularly severe in California, which has one-eighth of the U.S. population but accounts for more than one-fifth of the homeless children with a tally of nearly 527,000.
While the United States has not embraced the draconian austerity that continues to devastate Europe, neither has it embraced the sort of Keynesian
relief and stimulus that could actually turn the economy around in a meaningful and sustained manner. It's well past time.