It is, considering the prosperity all around us in Wake County, a frustrating and heart-breaking fact: The number of homeless public school students in the county has increased 23 percent since 2009. The number stands at 2,736. And there may be more, considering the different sorts of living arrangements that cause a person to be called or categorized as homeless.
There are those on the street or in a car with simply no place to go. There are those who have no homes themselves but share quarters temporarily with other families.
Yes, there is a variety of public and private resources that help the homeless find places to live or help parents find work. One woman interviewed by The News & Observer’s Keung Hui found a way out of homelessness for her and her children, and her family members even worked recently at serving meals to homeless men in a downtown Raleigh center. She was grateful that in the toughest times, there were resources to provide coats for her kids and other help.
Even so, children in Wake County go to bed at night uncertain of where they’ll be the next night. The distractions of trying to survive hurt them in school. “They have,” said one Salvation Army official, “as many dreams as the child next to them, but they have a harder road.”
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In this holiday season, it’s important to remember the children of these circumstances as we walk the malls or enjoy the wretched excess of big meals and shopping. Let this be a season when we all try to find a charitable organization through which to help reduce the number of homeless children in our county.