The Impact of Homelessness on Children & Families

Becoming a new parent is full of unexpected challenges at every turn, regardless of economic status. Unfortunately, thousands of parents with young children across the nation and Multnomah county experience homelessness with their children.

According to the latest data from Oregon Housing and Community Services, 16% of all individuals experiencing homelessness in Multnomah are part of households with children. On any given night nationwide, an estimated 57,971 family households are identified as homeless, and of these families, an estimated 16,938 are living in conditions unsuitable for human habitation (like in a car, or on the streets).

Oftentimes, families experiencing homelessness already struggle financially, and are pushed into such a precarious situation by any number of circumstances, including an unexpected job loss or a medical emergency or other large bill.

But families experiencing homelessness often endure other obstacles in addition to acquiring and maintaining sustainable housing. Due to limited access to healthcare, mothers experiencing homelessness are typically in poorer health, and their children are more likely to suffer from health problems than housed and/or low income children. Homeless children suffer from chronic illness, like heart disease and neurological disorders, in addition to acute illness, like upper respiratory infections, at twice rate of the general ambulatory population.

Other prevalent health issues impacting children experiencing homelessness are nutritional-related, and stem from food insecurity (defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as limited or unstable availability of adequate amounts of nutritious food). Homeless children suffering from food insecurity typically have worse physical and mental health, greater developmental delays, and poorer academic performance (specifically with regards to reading and mathematics) than other food secure children.

JOIN strives to support the efforts of homeless families to transition into permanent housing. We believe that families and children should never need to worry about where they will sleep, or where their next meal will come from. At JOIN, we are dedicated to supporting individuals and families, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, faith, culture, language, sexual identity, specific diagnosis, or other identifiable issue.

If you’re interested in helping JOIN work with families to transition out of homelessness, donate here.

Or, click here to see our list of needs for a list of items you can donate!