IHN serves homeless families with children. Our families include infants, children, and teenagers. The majority of our families are single mothers with children.
Before becoming homeless most families had been working, paying their bills, and paying their rent. Then something unexpected happened, such as a healthcare crisis or the loss of a job. Suddenly they find themselves without enough money to cover their bills and, given the high cost of housing in our region, they then lose their housing.
Homelessness disrupts virtually every aspect of a family’s life, occasionally damaging the physical and/or emotional wellbeing of all the family members. It interferes with a child’s education and development, and frequently results in the separation of family members.
It is a devastating experience.
Our families have lost their housing and exhausted their resources. They come into our programs with very little material possessions and very little hope. We provide them with the hope and help they need to rebuild their lives.
The causes of homelessness are complex. Some of the root causes are poverty and the lack of affordable housing. Many families are living one paycheck away from homelessness.
Typically, families become homeless as a result of some unforeseen financial crisis – a medical emergency, a car accident, a death in the family – that prevents them from being able to hold on to housing.
Domestic violence is the immediate cause of homelessness for many women and children.
On any given day approximately 500 people are homeless in Montgomery County and over 50% of these are families with children.
Homeless children are sick four times as often as middle class children and have high rates of acute and chronic illnesses.
Homeless children suffer from emotional or behavioral problems that interfere with learning at almost three times the rate of other children.
Homeless children between 6 and 17 years old struggle with high rates of mental health problems. 47% have problems such as anxiety, depression, or withdrawal, compared to 18% of other school-age children.
Homeless children go hungry twice as often as other children.