National Nonprofit Sees Staggering Increase In Homeless Children

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With 140 Affiliate Networks and 125,000 volunteers nationwide serving homeless and low-income families, pioneer nonprofit, Family Promise, has reported a devastating increase in the number of the children it serves. Last year, Family Promise served 45,000 people through their Affiliates, 60 percent of whom were children. They also reported a significant increase in two-parent families (26 percent), including families with grandparents and grandchildren.

Even though we provided over 2 million meals and 700 community-based initiatives throughout 39 states last year, our Affiliates are either stretched to capacity or forced to establish waiting lists.

Family Promise (http://www.familypromise.org) reports that out of 45,000 homeless and low-income citizens served by their national Affiliate Network in 2008, 60 percent are now children, 46 percent of whom are five and under. The pioneering nonprofit also witnessed a significant increase in two-parent families (26 percent), including families with grandparents and grandchildren.

This sobering trend falls in line with a recent report by the National Center on Family Homelessness citing that one in fifty American children fell homeless between 2005-2006. From Time Magazine to The New York Times, CNN to MSNBC, this stark and stunning news has since spilled into the national discourse with alarming decree.

3.5 million Americans including 1.5 million children experience homelessness each year. 1 out of every 4 children currently lives beneath the poverty line. Overall, families represent the fastest growing segment of America's homeless population.

Since 1988, Family Promise has leveraged coast-to-coast outreach through over 140 Affiliate operations, 125,000 volunteers and myriad public policy advocates to help 250,000 homeless and low-income Americans regain independence and end their cycle of poverty. Community volunteers partner with local social service agencies to administer shelter, meals, mentoring, childcare, health care, job assistance, financial counseling, transportation and housing placement. 80 percent of families that enter the program secure housing within just 8 weeks.

But while the accomplishments are sweeping, greater challenges are mounting. Family Promise Founder and President, Karen Olson, is highly concerned about the effects borne of the current economic crisis, particularly severe shortages in affordable housing and a dramatic imbalance between living expenses and living wages. She explains, "Even though we provided over 2 million meals and 700 community-based initiatives throughout 39 states last year, our Affiliates are either stretched to capacity or forced to establish waiting lists."

During a March press conference, President Obama stated, 'Part of the change in attitudes that I want to see here in Washington and all across the country is a belief that it is not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.' In response to this admission, Ms. Olson says, "Considering Family Promise served over 10,000 more mothers, fathers and children last year than in 2007, we hope the President's words will serve as a national rallying cry to mobilize far greater resources and advocacy."

For more information about Family Promise and its programs, visit http://www.familypromise.org. To schedule an interview with Karen Olson, contact 908-273-1100, Ext. 18.

Contact: Doug Forbes
Tel. 732.774.0173
Cell: 908.433.7936

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Doug Forbes

Wendy Alexander
Family Promise
908 273-1100 ext. 18
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