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Homelessness in America - The Churn

Homeless in America

 For many, homelessness is defined by what is seen on the streets – individual adults struggling with mental illness, substance abuse and panhandlers. While these individuals are very visible, there are millions of invisible homeless people who stay in cars, in hotels, and on other people’s couches.

Families, children, and youth are among the most invisible homeless people. These populations seldom make it in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Point In Time Count. When they do, they are significantly undercounted. While HUD has prioritized single adults as the target for its funding, a growing group of providers and communities understand that One Size does not fit All. Families, youth and children all have very different needs than individual chronically homeless adults. 

Homeless families defy easy description. Some are a second or third generation of homelessness, held captive by a lack of education, addiction and opportunity. Others are war veterans (increasingly women) who return wounded in many ways and who are struggling to exist in a world very different from the one they have just exited. And still others are people whose seemingly-solid middle or lower-middle class existence was suddenly torn from them by an unforeseen “perfect storm” of circumstances.

Without a solution, without a change, today’s homeless child is highly likely to become tomorrow’s homeless adult. These children and their parents require extensive social service intervention and generate huge costs as they ceaselessly cycle from the streets to emergency rooms, temporary shelters, mental health facilities, and other “assistance” that is not a permanent solution. The current public policies are hurting the very people they are intended to help.

We solve it by ending “the Churn”

Many public assistance programs offer inadequate responses for family homelessness. Shelters, motel vouchers and even government subsidized housing provide a Band-Aid fix, but not a permanent solution–because it does not address or resolve the root causes of homelessness.

We’re solving it for our Children

There are about a half a million children caught in the churn here in the United States, and unless we commit to solving it, these children face a greater likelihood of falling into the pattern of generational poverty and homelessness in the future.


"Crushing the Churn" =  Generational Transformation