"Texas Needs to Respond": In the State, More Than 300,000 Children are Homeless

This morning, the National Center on Family Homelessness made it official: Texas has more homeless children than any other state in the union, and significantly more needs to be done to care for them. Says the center's new 220-page study, America's Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, of the approximately 1,555,360 homeless children in the U.S., 337,000 live in Texas -- or, 5.2 percent of all children in the state. The study also deems the state's policy and planning "inadequate" and ranks Texas at 44 when it comes to "child well-being" and 50 for "risk of being homeless" -- hence, the worst ranking possible, which is not merely a result of population.

There is this caveat buried deep in the report: "The number of homeless children in 2005-2006 in Louisiana and possibly in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas was unusually high because of the 2005 hurricanes." But another statistic to bear in mind:

Approximately 11% (or 8.9 million) of our nation's children are uninsured.Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children at 22% and Massachusetts has the lowest rate at 5%.
The Associated Press follows up with this story this morning, about a Dallas family now living at Family Gateway following the mother and father both losing their jobs. Ken Martin, executive director of the Texas Homeless Network, points to a disaster-in-the-making for kids and parents alike: "At the other end of the scale are people who are way over their heads in houses they can't afford. When they lose their jobs or have a health care crisis, they're out on the street and they take their kids with them."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky