A recent report analyzing data from Wilder Research's 2009 Minnesota homelessness study finds the number of homeless kids reached a new high in 2009. The study estimates that the total estimated number of children in shelters, unsheltered locations, doubled-up, or in other temporary arrangements on any given night ranges from an alarming 29,000 to 39,000.
Being homeless as a child can have lasting consequences,
from falling behind in school, to emotional difficulties, to a higher risk of homelessness as adults.
Racial disparities are severe, with non-white children being far more likely to be homeless. In the study, 49% of all homeless parents were African American, while African Americans represent only 4% of all parents in the state.
Lack of sufficient affordable housing contributes greatly to homelessness, found the report. Homeless parents in the survey reported being able to pay an average of only $408 (Twin Cities) or $314 (Greater Minnesota) per month for housing, far less than market rate rents. Nearly two-thirds of parents reported being on a waiting list for subsidized housing, waiting for an average of 13 months, with another 16 percent having tried to get on a waiting list but finding it closed.
The affordable housing shortage also "increases the length of time that people are homeless, making it hard for them to move out of shelters and thereby free up space for other homeless people," says the report.
Job loss or reduction in work hours led to loss of housing for 37 percent of parents.