Coronavirus Worsened Plight of Homeless Children in America
Homeless children are some of the most vulnerable groups affected by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. They are deprived of an education, a stable home, proper health care and often a safe environment in which to live. There is little chance the children made homeless children by the Corvid-19 outbreak will escape the cycle of poverty experienced by their parents.
The public health measures imposed by the authorities to limit the spread of coronavirus caused many families across America to lose their homes.
Americans witnessed unprecedented job losses, bankruptcies, evictions and death tolls during the coronavirus crisis. The number of Americans filing unemployment claims reached 14.8% in April and 13.3% in May.
Parents struggled to care for their children amid escalating the emotional and financial hardship
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said 4 in 10 children in rented accommodation are still facing food and/or housing hardship. The children of the estimated 10.1 million Americans with mortgage arrears are in similar stressful situations.
Homeless families often live in over-crowded conditions while staying with relatives and friends, shelters, motel rooms, cars, campervans, tents and the streets.
The closure of schools and colleges in March and April deprived homeless children of the right to an education. Children from low-income families lacked consistent access to computers and the internet. They were unable to take part in remote learning during classes.
The Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness said children who have experienced homelessness are 87% more likely to drop out of school. Education is a way out of the cycle of poverty in society. Young adults without a high school diploma or some form of college education make them vulnerable to unemployment and homelessness throughout their lives.
Children of homeless families suffer by removing a stable environment for learning provided by educational centres is removed. Students cannot access the help and advice offered by teachers and councillors to support their medical, dietary and emotional needs. Teachers lose contact with their students when families frequently move locations.
Distraction in the home makes learning difficult for children such as caring for younger siblings while their parents look for work. Sadly, some suffer violence and traumatic conditions while they are homeless.
A growing number of homeless children are devastated by the loss of one or more parents to coronavirus. Adults with underlying health conditions who cannot afford proper medical treatment suffer the full effects of coronavirus.
Dr Leana Wen, a former health commissioner, told CNBC in December “ we’re…seeing unprecedented numbers of people getting ill, hospitalized and dying”.
The United States is one of the worst affected countries globally. The statistics estimated 318,000 Americans died from Corvid-19 and another 16.2 million diagnosed with the disease.
The homeless are more susceptible to contracting coronavirus because of the cramped conditions in which they live. The dearth of handwashing facilities and sharing of utensils means the disease quickly spreads.
The American Academy for Paediatrics reported 1.2 million children tested positive for coronavirus by November. The outbreaks to schools and universities were responsible for the high infection rate in young people.
Researchers found African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and immigrants from outside the U.S were more likely to suffer from unemployment and homelessness. Their susceptibility to coronavirus and higher mortality rate from the disease added to the disparities with white Americans.
The pandemic deepened the divide for children from low-income and their more affluent peers. The closure of schools and colleges across America and the shelter in place orders has severely affected their ability to learn and progress in the educational system.
Dr Elen Bowen from the University of Buffalo said “Education is disrupted for all students right now. But some students have supportive adults in their lives and have the financial resource to help them overcome those disruptions. Many people in the homeless youth population do not have that”.
The statistics show homeless children are more likely to drop out of school. The lack of a high school diploma or some form of a college education makes children vulnerable to unemployment and homelessness as young adults.
CNBC- The CDC banned evictions. Tens of thousands have still occurred by Annie Nova: https://www.cnbc.com/.../why-home-evictions-are-still...
The Cut — Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States by Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold and Amanda Arnold: https://www.thecut.com/.../which-states-have-coronavirus...
Teachers for America — New York City’s COVID-19 school closures had major ramifications for the city’s more than 100,000 homeless and foster students. What will the long-term impact be on their education? By Jessica Fregni: https://www.teachforamerica.org/.../what-homeless...
SKY News — 2020 is the deadliest year in US history as coronavirus ‘kills one American every 33 seconds’ by https://news.sky.com/.../2020-is-the-deadliest-year-in-us...
CBNC — Covid is killing more than 2,000 people a day in the U.S. as infections and hospitalizations hit records by Noah Higgins-Dunn: https://www.cnbc.com/.../covid-is-killing-more-than-2000...
Economic Policy Institute — COVID-19 and student performance, equity, and U.S. education policy by Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss: https://www.epi.org/.../the-consequences-of-the-covid-19.../
Centre on Budget and Policy Priorities — Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships: https://www.cbpp.org/.../tracking-the-covid-19-recessions...