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Report: Thousands of Ohio Children Looking for a Place to Call Home

March 12, 2009

Columbus, Ohio – While more than 20,000 Ohio children have no permanent place to live, a new study ranks the Buckeye State 34th in the country for the number of homeless children. That means one in every 26 Ohio children is homeless, according to the report from the National Center on Family Homelessness.

Barbara Turpin, KIDS COUNT director for the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) in Ohio, says it’s only expected to get worse, as the data from this study was collected before the recession.

"Homelessness is not on the radar of a lot of people in Ohio, but I think it’s going to become a larger problem just because of the overall effects of the economy right now."

Turpin says many of the problems facing homeless children also have an impact on the community.

"They’re affected by high risk issues, such as health, education, and the lack of food security. This continues to affect the overall well-being of Ohio."

Angela Lariviere, youth advocacy program coordinator with the Coalition of Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, says there has been an increased number of youth on the streets in cities throughout the state.

"If they get desperate, they might go to shelters but mostly they don’t. One time, we even found an apartment in Cincinnati that had 26 youths living in it."

In response to the crisis, the CDF is recommending policymakers implement a state earned-income tax credit and increase money for homeless vouchers, which Turpin says would amount to less than one percent of the state budget. Gov. Strickland's anti-poverty task force is expected to make homelessness policy recommendations next month.

The entire study can be found at www.homelesschildrenamerica.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH