What is homelessness?
The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development defines homelessness as individuals living on the streets, in cars, in emergency shelters and transitional housing. It does not include those living in overcrowded conditions or “couch surfing” (temporarily staying with friends or relatives).
Acres of Hope exists in response to Mathew 25:35-36; “for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.”
How many homeless are in Placer County?
More than 400 individuals have been identified as homeless in Placer County. Women and children make up almost 50% of this number. A more recent study by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee reported over 95,000 homeless children in the California during some period of the 2005-2006 school year. Over 586 of those homeless children are in Placer County alone. The study says it’s findings are “conservative” and do not include children under 5 yrs. old.
Acres of Hope understands the truth of Deuteronomy 15:11, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
Why are people homeless?
The root cause of homelessness is poverty and lack of affordable housing. But anyone can be one paycheck, one illness or one rent hike away from homelessness. The situations behind each story are complex. The statistics below are very consistent with the mothers and children we find at Acres of Hope. Rather than judge or condemn, Acres of Hope believes that we all fall short of the Glory of God and we are to invest in lives with the expectation of transformation through a loving environment combined with biblical truths and principals.
Statistics to Consider
- 92% have experienced severe physical or sexual assault in their lifetime.
- 63% of homeless mothers have been violently abused by an intimate male partner. 27% required medical treatment.
- 44% lived outside their homes at some point during their childhood. Of these women, 20% were placed in foster care.
- 36% have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a rate three times higher than other women.
- 66% of homeless women were violently abused by a childhood caretaker or other adult in their household before reaching age 18.
- 43% of homeless women were sexually molested as children.
- Homeless mothers have ulcers at four times the rate of other women.
- 34% of school-aged children who have been homeless have lived apart from their Families
- Almost 25% of homeless children have witnessed acts of violence within their family.
- 62% of formerly homeless, extremely low-income children (ages 8 to 17 years old) have been exposed to violence. For children over 12, the rate of exposure to violence climbs to 83%.
- Homeless children suffer from emotional or behavioral problems that interfere with learning at almost three times the rate of other children.
- Homeless children between 6 and 17 years old struggle with high rates of mental health problems. For example, 47% have problems such as anxiety, depression, or withdrawal, compared to 18% of other school-age children.
Facts taken from the National Center on Family Homelessness –www.FamilyHomelessness.org.