It is difficult to fathom anyone being subjected to the harsh seasonal elements of our frigid winters and blistering summers, but it is nearly beyond belief that there are 1.37 million children living on the streets right here in the United States, an issue that IS within the duty and obligation of our school systems, in conjunction with the Department of Family and Children Services and other relevant agencies, to resolve. My purpose here is to compel these entities and general supporters of education and the safety of children (and their immediate families as caretakers) to act, and in haste, to place EVERY homeless child and their accompanying families, where relevant, in transitional and subsequent permanent housing, and accompanying guardians/caretakers in adult education and employment placement programs, as necessitated (within the United States and the world at large, and eventually resolving the issue of homelessness amongst all persons as a matter of ethics and public safety).
About 40% of the homeless in America are families with minor children (Wikipedia, “Homelessness in the United States,” Nov. 3, 2006)—Well over half of these children are not attending school, and many grow into adulthood without ever setting foot in a school. Many develop emotional or psychological disorders and/or resort to suicide (It is clear, thus, that there is a strong correlation between poverty and psychological disorders, and that the essential cure is treating the root cause, poverty).
All homeless families with minor children, in both urban and rural areas, should receive EMERGENCY or priority relief/shelter, even if it means relocating them to other towns or cities.
Students are required to complete a form each year communicating their living arrangements to the respective schools that they are attending. Notwithstanding, when students indicate that they are homeless, particularly if they are sleeping outside or in vehicles, the schools should ALWAYS intervene by locating shelters that would take them and any accompanying parents and/or guardians and siblings, etc. in. The schools should have information available for distribution to these students/their parents or guardians about the facilities that would service them. The schools should also make transportation arrangements to get them to the facilities, whether it’s driving them there in school or site vehicles or telephoning the facilities where they’d be residing to request transportation services, if the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the student client do not have vehicles. If they do have vehicles they should be offered an escort or given printed or written directions to the facility where they and the student client(s) would be residing.
Letters should be disbursed to parents of homeless children informing them of the importance and requirement, per the Departments of Education & Human Services, of immediately reporting to designated residential facilities where they and the student clients would be safe, fed, and privileged to showers, toiletries, beds, and other restorative services and resources.
Succinct Housing for Homeless Students & Their Families
At least one succinct residential facility or complex that would house homeless students and their families should be opened in every school district or region, or so as to service every homeless student and their accompanying families within the district or region (It would be much less expensive in the long haul for homeless students to be serviced with their families, who would be rendered vocational, employment, and other services, where applicable, that would enable them to eventually function independent of government assistance, as opposed to assigning homeless students to foster or state care).
Priority would be given to students and other children and their families who are living in the streets or in cars, and, accordingly, students and their families who are residing in short-term or emergency shelters would be referred to these facilities or complexes, which would be ideally located near schools with low enrollment.
The noted facilities would also offer services like transportation and/or provisions for it for employment searches and interviews, as well as for educational and other relevant purposes. They too would assist clients with obtaining Social Security cards, drivers’ licenses and/or state identification, public assistance, permanent housing, etc.
Such facilities in rural or remote areas would be built within walking distance of schools and/or on school bus routes, preferably within walking distance of grocery and other stores.
Homeless Task Forces in each city would be charged with the task of locating and placing these families (Perhaps the individuals who record the stats of the homeless could assist in this effort) —No child left behind!