Why do families experience homelessness?
Homelessness infiltrates nearly all communities, ages and family structures. Among developed countries, the United States has the highest number of women and children experiencing homelessness. In America, over 549,000 people are homeless and 43.1 million live below the poverty level. 1 in 5 of these are children.
Homelessness is more than physical discomfort, it can cause fear for personal safety, stigmatization and isolation, and a sense of hopelessness. Children without secure and stable housing are at increased risk for lower educational attainment, jeopardized physical and mental health, and decreased social development. Childhood trauma is the leading factor for adult homelessness.
Families experiencing homelessness are doing so primarily due to lack of income and affordable housing. One-third of homeless adults in Minnesota are working full time. Certain populations are more apt to be homeless such as those with criminal records, credit complications, drug or alcohol difficulties, and chronic health issues, including mental health challenges. Often, an initial problem will compound into other issues that eventually lead to homelessness.
Our location in a suburban community brings a unique challenge: Families experiencing homelessness in the suburbs are considered the "hidden homeless," turning to family or friends for temporary living quarters. Even if they cannot be seen they are still in need of services and support. While family and friends are willing to provisionally assist, the stress and expense of sustaining additional people in the household can strain relationships to the point of breaking which further isolates the homeless.
Dakota Woodlands, 3430 Wescott Woodlands, Eagan, MN 55123 | Telephone: 651-456-9110 | www.dakotawoodlands.org