If you’ve never heard of the cycle of poverty or homelessness before, it’s the phrase used to refer to the pattern of social and financial conditions that allow poverty to persist in families through generations. It can look like this: Homeless/Impoverished youth have low family income, making even basic needs like food and housing scarce and a higher education unavailable.
As homeless/impoverished children grow, the chronic lack of food and adequate housing leads to food insecurity, poor hygiene, malnutrition, physical illness, and mental health issues, all of which undermine the ability to work. Living hand to mouth, these children and families are simply stuck with their health and earning power declining. Even in their passing, they do not have anything substantial to give as an inheritance.
Needing money for basic needs, these children often drop out of school to work, but subsequently don’t pursue an education, perhaps the single most important factor in finding gainful employment. As these homeless/impoverished kids grow up and have children of their own, they perpetuate this cycle of poverty and homelessness into the next generation.
Child homelessness and poverty are rampant in California. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, 24% of children live in poverty and there are 526,708 homeless children in the state - that’s one fifth of the total U.S. homeless child population. If the cycle is left unchecked, these statistics will only get worse.
But if you examine the cycle, it becomes pretty clear what would solve the problem: provide children with basic needs like food, adequate housing, and an education that will support gainful employment, so that by the time they’re fully grown they can take care of themselves. Simply Basic Needs, Housing, and Education.
I hope you agree that we have an unacceptable level of homeless children in California. If we’re going to make a difference, we all need to do something to support these kids. Anything that you can do to provide basic needs, housing, and education to these kids will help. It may not seem like much, but breaking the cycle of poverty for a child helps that child and the generations to come after them too.
Let me show you where to get started…
Donate books for children by dropping them off at HomeAid.
HomeAid has been ending homelessness with Boys Hope Girls Hope since 1997 through the renovation of their girl’s home in Fullerton that added 6 beds for at-risk youth. Girls Hope is also a recipient of HomeAid’s Community Outreach activities.
As these homeless/impoverished kids grow up and have children of their own, they perpetuate this cycle of poverty and homelessness into the next generation.