As a child, there are a lot of things that are unknown, like how the universe is so big or how to spell ridiculously long words like “incomprehensible”. It’s normal for kids to be curious about the world around them, but children should never have to wonder about where their next meal will come from or where they’re going to sleep that night. Homeless children must be helped because homelessness leads to a decline in performance in school and a decline in health.
With so much to worry about in their lives, homeless children, especially teenagers, education isn’t their number one priority. Instead of school, their main priority is trying to find work in order to provide money for themselves or their families. The National Public Radio (NPR) declared, “…one of the biggest barriers he sees with homeless students is that school isn’t their main priority. Students skip two or three days a week because they’re more focused on making an income.”
NPR elaborated, “They just want to get those basic needs met — get money for hotels, get some food on the table, toiletries, and things of that nature.” Most kids and teens don’t have to fret about these basic needs being met. Yet, being homeless forces children to grow up quickly and get into the workforce. Homeless students’ education is pushed to the side as a lower priority because easy, fast cash can be made at jobs that require no education or degree of some sort, in order to simply make ends meet.
Homelessness among children leads to an immense decline in children’s physical and mental health. Some common ailments include infected skin wounds, substance abuse problems, bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Without the proper funds to treat these diseases, they can worsen and could potentially cause death. Homelessness not only causes a series of possible physical issues but mental health issues as well. The worry and stress of homelessness allow mental health illnesses to take root and worsen, even at such a young age. Without the proper aid, these kids may do something that can’t be undone.
Homeless children face malnourishment and anxiety. They have experienced great trauma at a young age. This results in worse performance in school and worse health, but it is important to remember that it is in no way their fault. They’re just children and they deserve assistance, whether it is financial or emotional support from teachers or counselors at school. Homeless children need our help, and it’s up to us to give them help.