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A Special Bob Edwards Show Report


Read the transcript here.

Say the word “homeless” and it most likely conjures up an image of a bag lady or old man asleep on a park bench. But the fastest growing homeless population in the United States is homeless families. Increasingly, single parents are unable to provide basic necessities for their children – food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Forty percent of homeless Americans are homeless families with children. In New York the number of homeless families is at an all time high, with 9,500 in shelters. In Washington, DC the only emergency shelter for homeless families has been closed, causing hundreds of families to be put on a waiting list for housing. The challenges facing this young group are crippling–often lifelong–and sometimes deadly. Yet as the cost of living increases and the economy tightens, programs for these vulnerable families are being cut. What’s more, these young children of poor, broken families are in turn more likely to be homeless themselves as teens and adults. Homeless kids have more health problems, more learning disabilities, and emotional disorders than other children. That makes it harder for them to learn and do well in school, making it harder to get an education and be self-sufficient. And that makes them more susceptible to homelessness as adults, continuing the cycle of poverty.

Bob Edwards and producer Ariana Pekary spent hours interviewing homeless men, women, teens and children – at shelters, group homes, and on city sidewalks to report their stories. These families told of the financial hardship and violence – verbal, physical, and sexual – that forced them on to the streets, creating even more difficult and dangerous situations. These are stories of survival and hope in a time when solutions are quietly debated. Social workers, advocates for the poor, and government officials generally agree about how best to help that nation’s homeless children:  provide comprehensive services, education assistance, and medical treatment. In this special documentary, Bob Edwards examines whether enough being done to break the cycle for homeless kids?