No better time to help out the homeless

January 14, 2009 at 11:43 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

When parish residents venture outside this weekend, they will likely be met with freezing temperatures. But for most, getting warm again is as simple as returning home and turning on the heater.

For some, that is not a possibility.

Over 40 Hahnville High School students recently slept outside in cardboard boxes as a way to draw attention to homelessness. The students, who all paid $3 to participate, gained a valuable experience since not many get to feel what its like to have to sleep outside with a box as your only cover.

The students' $3 donations, along with money made from concessions, reached almost $800. That money was then given to the Covenant House in New Orleans.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, two trends are responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years - a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty. People living in poverty are most at risk of becoming homeless, and demographic groups who are more likely to experience poverty are also more likely to experience homelessness.

With the recent state of the economy, more and more people are pushed into poverty, which in turn increases the amount of homeless people across the nation.

Because those living in poverty often are forced into homelessness, a lot of children get caught in the middle. In fact, families now make up 40 percent of the country's homeless population, which means that more than 1.3 million children are homeless at some time each year.

That's why the Covenant House in New Orleans is so important. It provides shelter and services to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth between the ages of 16-21. On any given night, the shelter has about 75 kids in residence and they have provided over 17,000 youth with food, shelter, medical attention, counseling and educational assistance since its opening in 1984.

So we applaud students at Hahnville High School for drawing attention to homelessness and helping raise money.

That $800 will go a long way.

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