Charleston Affordable HousingA recently released report called America’s Youngest Outcasts calls attention to the serious issue of child homelessness. The report describes homeless children from birth to age 18 who are accompanied by one or more parents or caregivers. By definition, this is a homeless family.

Published by the National Center on Homelessness, the report reveals more than 1.6 million children are homeless in America: 1 in 45 children. It says 42% of homeless children are age 6 or younger, and research establishes a strong connection between a young child’s early experiences and the developing structure of his or her brain. According to a study by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, early experiences determine whether a child’s brain architecture will provide a strong or weak foundation for all future learning, behavior and health.

The authors cite poverty and a shortage of affordable housing as the two fundamental causes of child homelessness and attribute the recent spike in the number of homeless children to the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2010, the United States saw an increase of 448,000 homeless children. Only five states saw a decline in the number of homeless children, and in 25 states, child homelessness increased by 50% or more.

The 124-page report also ranks each state across four domains: a score of 1 being the best, 50 being the worst. It also gives each state a composite rank, based on the four domains.

Here is how South Carolina ranks:

Category                                                                                                           Rank
Extent of Child Homelessness (adjusted for population size)    26
Child Well-Being                                                                                            40
Risk for Child Homelessness                                                                     48
State Policy and Planning Efforts                                                            26
Composite                                                                                                       37

South Carolina ranks pretty high in several categories, and that’s not a good thing. Click the link to find out more information on America’s Youngest Outcasts.

Please contact us at SC Community Loan Fund if you’re interested in finding out more about affordable housing options in the Lowcountry. We’d love to tell you what we do and show you ways that you can get involved, too.