WHY we do what we do
Research shows that homeless children are confronted with health problems, hunger and poor nutrition, developmental delays, psychological problems and educational underachievement significantly more often than housed children. Children who are homeless are five times more likely to contract an infectious disease and six times more likely to experience stunted growth. 87% of homeless children worry that something bad will happen to their family while 47% of homeless children experience anxiety or depression. 75% of homeless children perform below grade level and 36% of them are likely to have to repeat a grade, two and three times the national average, respectively.
Homeless children experience chronic stress and trauma from frequent moves; inconsistent relationships; lack of places to play; witnessing domestic violence; and being surrounded by substance abuse.
Homeless families with children are the largest growing demographic among homeless people. The Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative’s (MDHI) January 25, 2016 Point-In-Time study of the homeless population counted an estimated 3,631 persons who were homeless in our community on the day the count was conducted. In Denver County, families with children comprise the largest segment of the homeless population, representing 81% of families surveyed.
Contributing to the problem of homelessness is the disparity in the cost of living in the city and county of Denver. The Colorado Center on Law and Policy has calculated the self-sufficiency wage for one adult, one preschooler and one school-age child (a fairly typical composition of a Family HomeStead client family) is $57,409. Considering Family HomeStead client families have an income ranging from $0 to $21,000 a year, reaching the level of self-sufficiency is a lofty and unachievable goal.