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The hard times generation

CBS’s 60 Minutes highlights increase in homeless children

For some children, socializing and learning are being cruelly complicated by homelessness, as Scott Pelley of CBS’s 60 Minutes reported on Sunday March 6, 2011, from Florida, where school buses now stop at motels for children who’ve lost their homes. This also occurs in New Jersey and is unacceptable.

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According to Mr. Pelley:

Unemployment improved a bit last month but it is still nearly nine percent and the trouble is job creation is so slow, it will be years before we get back the seven and a half million jobs lost in the Great Recession. American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers. The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.

One of the consequences of the recession that you don’t hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty.

The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.

His closing remarks summarized the crisis of homelessness:

We all hear about the recovery – that the recession ended in 2009 – but some things are getting worse before they get better. And child poverty is one of them.

America’s motel generation is growing fast.

Like the kids who came out of the Great Depression, this generation is being shaped by homelessness and hunger but also by memories of neighbors who opened their homes, and of families that refused to be broken

by Richard W. Brown

Richard W. Brown, has more than forty-two years experience in both housing development and community organizing. Since 1991 Mr. Brown has been the Chief Executive Officer of Monarch Housing Associates, the 1995 Governor’s Excellence in Housing Award winner in the organization category.. To read more about Richard and all of our staff click here. Click here to send Mr. Brown an email.

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