Providing emergency shelter services to homeless families including children since 1986 in our community. More than 80% of Dwelling Place residents are children. All children of homeless families are at risk for speech and health problems, malnutrition, developmental delays and poor school performance.
The face of homelessness is changing. The perception of homeless adults wandering the streets during the day, sleeping on those same streets at night is no longer accurate. Homelessness today is a family and children’s issue. The average age of a person in a shelter is nine years old. Each night across America more than a million children have no place to call home. These children are America’s hidden homeless. They live in shelters or motels. They move from place to place or live in overcrowded living conditions.
Homelessness is a national crisis and families comprise the fastest growing component in this population. Families make up more than 55 percent of the homeless in Hampton Roads. Families typically become homeless following a destabilizing event such as illness, job loss, or spousal abuse that results in eviction. The target population for The Dwelling Place emergency services is families in crisis due to homelessness.
Eighty-six percent of Dwelling Place residents are children. All children of homeless families are at risk for speech and health problems, malnutrition, developmental delays and poor school performance. Two-thirds of adults in homeless families have recent work experience, but are not currently working when they enter the shelter.
Although homelessness is directly related to poverty and the lack of affordable housing, most homeless families experience multiple problems such as unemployment, social isolation, poor health, substance abuse, victimization or family background that includes multigenerational welfare dependence.